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Cancer Profiler software helps identify ethnic minority interest in clinical trials

Thomson Healthcare : 04 March, 2008  (New Product)
A research study by the University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas has shown that people from ethnic minorities are just as inclined as caucasians to be interested in information about clinical trials.
The study, ‘An examination of the influence of patient race and ethnicity on expressed interest in learning about cancer clinical trials’, analysed internet use patterns among over 60,000 patients searching for information about cancer treatment.

Researchers from the University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston conducted the study by analysing patient usage of Thomson Healthcare's online cancer profilers, which are embedded in more than 100 cancer information web sites, including the American Cancer Society's

The online cancer profiler tools are free of charge and accessible under the ‘treatment decision’ links on the American Cancer Society web site. The tools allow patients and caregivers to enter detailed information about diagnoses and receive treatment options and information that can be used in the management of their conditions.

One of the questions in the profiler is: 'Are you interested in learning about clinical trials?'. Researchers parsed the responses to this question against self-reported race/ethnicity data to come to the conclusion that African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic patients are just as inclined to indicate interest in clinical trials as their Caucasian counterparts.

'In this examination, more than 60,000 patients, who self-identified their race/ethnicity, responded to a question regarding their interest in learning more about cancer clinical trials. African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American patients expressed a similar level of interest compared to the Caucasian population,' said Dr Maurie Markman, MD, lead author of the study and vice president for clinical research, M D Anderson Cancer Center. 'These data raise the provocative suggestion that providing information regarding cancer trials may be a particularly rational method to spread awareness of these studies among the non-Caucasian patient populations.'

According to the National Cancer Institute, minorities tend to be under- represented in health research studies. The institute suggests that efforts to increase minority participation in health research should focus on improving access to studies rather than on changing people's attitudes toward research.

'Clinical trials can be critical for the development of effective prevention, diagnostic and treatment methods for cancer and other diseases,' said Alicia Moffat, vice president, web operations, Thomson Healthcare. 'We are pleased to learn that the data from our online cancer profilers has been helpful in providing people with access to the information they need about clinical trials as well as communicating the availability of this treatment option.'

The research study was published in Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology.
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