Submitted by Terry Steiner, Work Group Co-Chair
A new partnership formed when the Treatment and Survivorship Work Group (T&S WG) switched focus from survivorship to treatment – (promoting clinical trial information and awareness to patients and providers). We developed a list of Commission on Cancer (CoC) accredited hospitals in New Hampshire, and then identified the clinical trial coordinators (CTCs) from each facility. Using this list, we formed the first-ever networking opportunity in the state for CTCs to share ideas. The members of this group were eager to have a connection to one another as well as have the opportunity to be involved with the NH CCC. At first the effort promoted simple brainstorming and was considered a one-time meeting. Once we got started, however, we realized we had formed something special. This group was so energetic and motivated that we knew it would stay connected with each other and with the work group.
Before we knew it, the ideas were flowing. We created a survey as a follow up to the study completed in 2008 identifying barriers to patients enrolling in clinical trials. The survey was sent to CoC accredited hospital program leaders and physicians in the state. The survey revealed that the barriers to clinical trial enrollment remained largely unchanged.
Next, we began work to create lists of open clinical trials across the state. The plan is to update this list after each Internal Review Board (IRB) meeting. The updates will come from the CTCs at each CoC-accredited facility, as well as from the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) locations that are National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated centers. The “live” list will be made available to patients and providers through the NH CCC website and through access to other links from hospital websites directing patients and providers to the link on the NH CCC website. The disease-specific site and description of each open clinical trial will link to www.ClinicalTrials.gov. The wording in the description will be consistent and easy to understand by patients. The location of each open trial will be listed on the newly created state map of cancer treatment sites. A contact name and phone number of the corresponding CTC will be available to anyone wanting more information. NH CCC had the NCI brochure, “Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies” printed for use by NH cancer centers when informing and educating patients about clinical trials.
The NH Cancer Plan objectives are to raise the level of awareness of both patients and providers to those clinical trials being offered in the State of New Hampshire. The commitment from the CTCs to participate and be involved in keeping this project updated will help make that happen.