Dr. Iltifat Husain’s physician take is at the end of this article
Patients interested in enrolling in a clinical trial now have a new option if they live near the University of Florida (UF) Health Cancer Center in Gainsville, Florida. UF has created a mobile app called UF Health Cancer Center Clinical Trial NaviGATOR that lets potential study subjects view clinical trial listings by disease site, and contact the center by phone or email to make clinical trial referrals or get additional information. The cancer center consists of more than 350 researchers and clinicians at UF Health and the University of Florida Academic Health Center.
The UF Oncology app‘s search function lets users choose from a long list of cancers, including breast, GI, GU, leukemia, melanoma and sarcomas. When you tap on an individual site, it provides more details on specific research projects currently underway. For example, the melanoma section is divided into adjuvant, neoadjuvant, and metastatic subsections. Viewing those 3 areas, patients can immediately see if there are any protocols in progress. As we were going to press, the Center had a protocol for metastatic melanoma consisting of dabrafenib and trametinib in patients with stage III-IV BRAF mutant unresectable disease. The clinical trail medical app then provided a detailed description of the trial, including the principal investigators, what phase the trial is in, the treatment protocol, as well as detailed eligibility requirements to enroll in the trial. It also provides a link to ClinicalTrials.gov for more information on the investigation.
Clinical trial apps like this are invaluable for cancer patients who have exhausted conventional treatment options and it’s surprising that more academic research centers are not offering similar mobile apps. These medical apps provide a way for patients to find clinical trials in their region, which is no easy task to accomplish when doing an Internet search. (The Cleveland Clinic offers a similar mobile app that lets patients search for cancer trials by disease site and hospital location.) These clinical trail apps not only provide hope to patients who have run out of choices, they are also a valuable way for a health system to promote its services.
Dr. Iltifat Husain’s take:
I remain puzzled why more cancer center’s have not released their own clinical trial information into app form. This is not only helpful for prospective patients, but also for clinicians when they are trying to guide their patients towards tertiary care centers. The ClinicalTrials.gov website is woefully difficult to go through, making these clinical trial apps even more essential. As 2016 starts, and more academic centers continue to create ResearchKit apps, I suspect we’ll see these same academic centers create more of these clinical trial finding apps.
UF Health Cancer Center Clinical Trial NaviGATOR