UK researchers work to improve identification of lung cancer patients eligible for participation in clinical trials for new treatments

At the University of Kentucky, researchers are developing better strategies to identify lung cancer patients who could participate in clinical trials for new treatments. Lung cancer causes more deaths than any other kind of cancer worldwide, and Kentucky’s rates of lung cancer and mortality are the highest in the nation.

Unfortunately, fewer than 1 percent of lung cancer patients participate in clinical trials in part because identifying and recruiting eligible participants is difficult and time-consuming, Mallory Powell writes for UK. The disease is often diagnosed so late that there is little time for clinical trials.

“The combination of the burden of lung cancer in Kentucky and the urgency of identifying patients who are eligible for clinical trials motivated Dr. Eric Durben and his team to devise a more efficient method for screening patient eligibility,” Powell writes. Durben is director of the Cancer Research Informatics Shared Resource Facility at UK’s Markey Cancer Center and an assistant professor in the division of biomedical informatics in the College of Public Health.

Durbin and his team are using unique electronic data sources managed by UK’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, the Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, the Markey Cancer Center and the Kentucky Cancer Registry to create system system to identify patients who for clinical trials. The two-year project is in its seventh month.

“Clinical trial recruitment is critically important to the Markey Cancer Center if we’re going to get lifesaving therapeutics to our patients,” said Dr. Susanne Arnold, associate professor in medical oncology and radiation medicine at Markey. “It’s also how we make progress in cancer treatment.”

While the project is geared toward lung cancer, its results could address other cancers. “What’s really exciting about Dr. Durbin’s study is that it has the potential to greatly improve clinical research not only in the lung cancer but in other cancers and disease conditions as well,” said Dr. Nathan Vanderford, assistant director for research at Markey. (Read more)

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