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ResearchMatch adds new clinical trials feature

Mar. 26, 2015, 9:38 AM

Patients seeking to participate in clinical trials have a new option in online tools for finding studies that might offer hope for their problem or condition.

ResearchMatch.org, a nationwide online research volunteer recruitment and engagement service funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and hosted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has launched a new search feature to give prospective research volunteers a patient-centered and user-friendly way to find clinical trials of interest.

“We have long sought to help match patients with research conducted across the ResearchMatch network, and this new functionality will further empower research volunteers and families seeking to participate in studies and trials anywhere in the country,” said Paul Harris, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Informatics, research associate professor of Biomedical Engineering and director of the Office of Research Informatics.

The new tool is powered by the same extensive database behind ClinicalTrials.gov.

Users of the tool don’t need to know, for example, what a phase IV clinical trial is, or what terms such as “observational” or “interventional” connote in a clinical trials context. Users can start a search by answering a few simple questions about themselves. The website uses the responses to find relevant trials from ClinicalTrials.gov. Trials that have closed or are not yet open are filtered out.

In the next stage of the project, a dictionary package will be added to help users interpret medical and scientific terms that appear in clinical trial descriptions. There are also plans to expand the tool to disseminate trial results to volunteers, to help extend the volunteer connection beyond the last study visit.

“We are grateful that the National Library of Medicine makes this information public, as it allows us to better meet the needs of our volunteer community,” said Jill Pulley, director of Research Support Services. “Now we can make it easy for volunteers to take action by providing them an organized list of results that they can review with their doctors and families.”

“We think everyone will benefit from being better connected, but we believe it will be especially beneficial to those volunteers living with a rare or debilitating disease, as they are often the ones most desperate for information, access and hope,” she said.

More than 74,000 volunteers spread among all 50 states have registered with ResearchMatch.org. Some 2,520 researchers from 104 participating institutions are currently using ResearchMatch to recruit volunteers for more than 408 studies. For more information, visit www.ResearchMatch.org.

 

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