James H. Doroshow, MD, discusses strategies that were implemented to increase patient accrual to clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic.
James H. Doroshow, MD, senior investigator, Developmental Therapeutics Branch (DTB), director, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, deputy director for clinical and translational research, head, Oxidative Signaling and Molecular Therapeutics Group, DTB, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute (NCI), discusses strategies that were implemented to increase patient accrual to clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During March to June 2020, patient accrual to the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network decreased by about 50%, says Doroshow. Limited health care personnel and patient reluctance to come into the clinic were major contributors to this decline, Doroshow explains.
As such, the NCI and the Division of Cancer Prevention implemented a series of changes to attempt to combat the drop in patient accrual, Doroshow says. For example, investigational oral drugs were sent to local clinical trial sites to increase patients’ accessibility to treatment, Doroshow explains. Additionally, an electronic informed consent system was set up to make it easier for patients to enroll on a study, Doroshow says.
Notably, patients and local physicians were able to obtain imaging scans and laboratory tests locally rather than having the patient drive to the clinical trial site, Doroshow says. This approach made clinical trials significantly more accessible to patients who would have otherwise had to travel long distances to a clinical trial site, concludes Doroshow.