COVID-19 has changed the healthcare landscape in more ways than one, but in the space of cancer treatment, clinical trial enrollment has decreased dramatically. About 3-5% of adult cancer patients participate in cancer clinical trials. Since the pandemic, that number has become even lower.
Cancer centers around the world have had to change the way clinical trials are structured. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) have both released guidelines on how to proceed with clinical trial activities during the pandemic and protect trial participants. With interruptions such as quarantines, travel limitations and site closures, clinical trial procedures can be difficult to follow. The guidelines detail distribution and shipment of treatment, alternative procedures like virtual visits and capturing information.
A recent study states that the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with a decrease in clinical trial enrollment, especially in areas most affected by COVID-19, where some enrollment was halted. In 11 weeks before the cumulative cases of COVID-19 increased by 10-fold, 1870 patients were enrolled. In weeks 12-17, only 439 patients were enrolled.
The uncertain times of the pandemic suggest the need for virtual clinical trial tools, to assist in enrollment and ensure the safety of cancer patients. Tools like Massive Bio’s SYNERGY-AI based clinical trial matching tool enable patients to match to cancer clinical trials from the safety of their home. This AI-based tool suggests matches for cancer clinical trials based on cancer type, geographical location and more. For example, a lymphoma patient using the tool would receive personalized matches specific to their case for follicular lymphoma clinical trials. Without using a virtual tool like Massive Bio offers, patients would have to travel to a clinical trial site to be pre-screened, and they may still find out they are not eligible for a trial.
Virtual tools have proven to be essential in these unprecedented times. With the increased use of telehealth and online-based platforms, patients around the world can feel safe and still receive the services they need without having to risk travel.
Hibya News Agency