Patients sought in medical clinical trials

Sept. 18, 2007 at 9:39 AM

NEW YORK, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Cornell's Medical College and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are developing a strategy to enhance patient participation in clinical trials.

The project -- Improving Methods for Patient Accrual to Clinical Trials -- is an effort to increase participation in clinical trials across the medical spectrum.

"Low patient accrual in clinical trials poses a serious problem for the advancement of medical science," said Professor John Leonard, an attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and co-leader of the study. He noted fewer than 2 percent of patients choose to participate in clinical trials for cancer therapies across the United States.

"This project is the first to assess the problem from a socio-psychological perspective using the specialized methods of risk communication," said Assistant Professor Katherine McComas, principal leader of the study. "We will be using two proven approaches -- the model of Risk Information Seeking and Processing, and Theory of Planned Behavior. These will allow us to examine specific factors that influence how patients inform themselves about a clinical trial and decide whether to participate."

Future phases of the study will develop methods to help resolve common barriers to participation.

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