The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has launched the beta version of Fox Trial Finder, a web-based solution designed to connect willing volunteers with the Parkinson’s clinical trials that urgently need them. By the looks of the site, it’s currently only set up for US residents, but there is an email link for anyone outside of the US, and I feel that this program is too important to not post about it. Hopefully it will soon be available to teams worldwide.
“Today, as many as 80 percent of clinical trials face recruitment challenges — significantly increasing costs and delaying progress toward breakthroughs,” said Todd Sherer, Ph.D., CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. “Fox Trial Finder harnesses state-of-the-art technology to meet these challenges head-on by making it easier for volunteers and research coordinators to find each other. By streamlining the flow of participants into trials, Fox Trial Finder will play a role in reducing the length and cost of Parkinson’s clinical trials, helping bring new treatments to patients faster.”
Using state-of-the-art technology, Fox Trial Finder compares volunteer information such as location and medical history with trial eligibility requirements to find the best potential matches at study sites nearby. The service matches both people with Parkinson’s and control volunteers with the trials that need them. In addition to personalized matching, Fox Trial Finder streamlines communication between volunteers and trial teams:
- A secure messaging system allows volunteers to connect directly with trial coordinators (or vice versa) without the volunteers’ revealing their identities.
- Contact information for trial coordinators is posted within the online community for those who prefer to contact a site directly.
- Volunteers can also create a personal profile. Once this profile is saved, even if there are no current trial matches, they can receive email alerts when a new trial begins recruiting individuals with their characteristics.
Volunteers’ privacy is protected by industry-standard security protocols. Only de-identified profiles are viewable on the site itself. Names and contact information remain private unless volunteers choose to share this information with a trial team. Both interventional trials that test new therapeutic approaches, and observational studies that help scientists learn more about the nature of Parkinson’s, are included in the Fox Trial Finder database.
“The Parkinson’s patient community is highly motivated to play a proactive role in finding the cure for Parkinson’s disease. Fox Trial Finder is designed to help translate that motivation into action,” said Israel Robledo, a member of the PD community from Midland, Texas. “The site is user-friendly, but the cutting-edge technology it employs to specifically match individuals to clinical trials is what we need to get results. It’s exciting to see the advent of a tool like this to help address the longstanding challenges that stand in the way of everyday people getting involved to speed vital research toward better treatments for Parkinson’s disease.”