Website to give access to clinical trials by Dr. Muiris Houston, Medical Correspondent
Cancer patients will be able to access the details of clinical trials with a view to participating in the latest research following the launch of an online search facility.
The Irish Clinical Oncology Research Group (ICORG), a charity-based organisation of doctors in Northern Ireland and the Republic, said its service will allow Irish cancer sufferers to access new treatments through participation in clinical trials.
A similar service has successfully operated for a number of years on the website of the US National Cancer Institute. Using the organisation’s website at http://www.icorg.ie, patients can now search for trials of treatment for specific cancers which are currently open for participation. With 14 studies enrolling patients at present, ICORG hopes to increase this to 20 by the end of the year.
A patient requesting information on breast cancer trials will be offered the option of research dealing with early or advanced disease. For example by clicking on "advanced breast 01-09" they will receive information on a trial to assess the benefits of adding platinum chemotherapy to standard treatment.
The website details the eligibility criteria for each trial and explains the potential risks and benefits. The decision on whether to enrol in a trial is made by the patient and his or her treating doctor.
To date, ICORG has set up 38 research studies in Ireland with the participation of more than 600 patients. The group’s chief executive, Dr Brian Moulton, said: "It will help Irish cancer patients to check on the research options available to them."