VCU paves new path for clinical trial recruitment through launch of StudyFinder

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By: Sydney Bernstein-Miller

Clinical trial recruitment remains one of the biggest obstacles faced by researchers today. The inability of researchers to recruit enough viable participants results in failed clinical trials that do not produce measurable results, thus Virginia Commonwealth University was inspired to create a simpler, more user-friendly platform for potential research participants to find and enroll in clinical trials.

VCU's StudyFinder officially launches July 1 as a central point for all enrolling clinical trials at VCU. Interested volunteers can easily navigate the interactive site to identify studies that are recruiting participants.

The creation of StudyFinder also provides a unique avenue for health care providers to educate their patients on the importance of clinical trials. In a 2005 survey of nearly 2,000 cancer patients, 73 percent of those who joined a clinical trial said they did so because of their health care provider’s awareness of clinical trials.

"Participating in research at VCU is a powerful way of contributing to the future of health care," said Tim Aro, manager of clinical research informatics at the VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research's Enterprise Informatics. "With StudyFinder's easy-to-use features, potential volunteers can search for clinical trials and communicate with study teams quickly and easily with just a few clicks of the mouse. Contributing to science has never been easier."

The VCU version of StudyFinder, which houses more than 480 enrolling studies, was developed by the Wright CCTR. The center is part of a national Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium supported by a National Center for Advancing Translational Science award (No. UL1TR000058), which is granted by the National Institutes of Health. The StudyFinder tool was originally developed by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Minnesota (No. UL1TR000114).

Volunteers interested in learning more about open clinical trials at VCU can search by age, health status, keywords or general categories. They will then be taken to a study match page that clearly outlines the title of the study, name and contact information of the coordinator, and eligibility requirements.

"Whether on the computer or on their phone, StudyFinder proactively lets people determine if a trial is right for them by listing the requirements each study has about who can participate,” said Robert Moulden, clinical trials management system manager for the Wright CCTR's Enterprise Informatics.

Through the creation of StudyFinder, VCU aims to increase awareness of clinical trials and the important role they play in scientific breakthroughs.

The Wright CCTR's informatics group has done an outstanding job working with collaborators at the University of Minnesota to develop StudyFinder for VCU," said F. Gerard Moeller, M.D., director of the Wright CCTR. “StudyFinder will increase potential research participants’ access to important clinical trials at VCU."

To learn more about StudyFinder, visit www.studyfinder.cctr.vcu.edu