Researchers will interview 120 people
A first of its kind study that could dramatically change the way clinical trials are discussed with certain groups of people in the U.S., and perhaps the world, will be conducted in partnership with Adena Health System.
Dr. Janice Krieger of Ohio State University is leading the study and is working with Linda Kight, Adena’s Clinical Research Associate, to develop better methods of telling people in Appalachian Ohio about clinical trials.
Patients who participate in clinical trials undergo experimental therapies, all of which have undergone initial testing. Patients must meet strict eligibility requirements before they are allowed to participate.
"Even though clinical trial enrollment rates are low across the U.S., they are particularly low in Appalachia," said Krieger, a leading expert in how communication impacts certain populations when it comes to cancer prevention and control.
Existing studies show the decision to enroll in a clinical trial is influenced by friends and family, but this is the first study to explore the issue in the Appalachian region.
"Are there specific aspects about clinical trials that they’re worried about?" That is one of a number of factors Krieger is planning to investigate, with help from student assistant Angela Palmer-Wackerly and Kight.
The study is targeted at cancer patients served by the Adena Health System and the Memorial Health System, which includes Marietta Memorial Hospital. Both of these health systems already offer clinical trials to patients and are involved in the Appalachia Community Cancer Network.
"We’re working with the clinical trial nurses at the participating hospitals to identify patients who have been offered trials."
Once patients are identified Krieger and Palmer-Wackerly will begin face-to-face interviews with the cancer patients, as well as their family members and/or friends.
The researchers plan on interviewing 120 people, which is "a very large number for a qualitative interview study," Krieger said. By next year, she hopes to develop an interventional program.
It might include a video that could be used by a clinical trial nurse in talking to people from Appalachian regions. It’s really too soon to know what will work best, she noted.
"This is a very formative project in understanding the role of family in the clinical trials process. And there aren’t other studies that have addressed this particular area," Krieger stressed.
Not surprisingly perhaps, Krieger grew up in Appalachian Pennsylvania, in Montour County. Specializing in communication as it relates to underserved populations with cancer is "a perfect avenue for contributing back to the community," she said.
For comments from Dr. Janice Krieger about the study, click here... 01-13 Dr Janice Krieger