Medical Hero Spotlight: Rachel Minnick, Passionate Clinical Trial Volunteer and Advocate

Remembering Rachel Minnick

Rachel Minnick dedicated much of her life as a medical hero. We honor and remember her legacy. 

Diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2013, the wife and mother of two fought back fiercely against the disease with double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. She participated in a clinical trial. And she worked tirelessly to educate others about their treatment options and the clinical research process.

“Rachel was always pro research, pro clinical trials,” says her husband, Pete Minnick. “She always had that mindset ‘we’re on the cutting edge of medical breakthroughs and technology,’ and she wanted to be on that cutting edge.”

Her cancer was in remission from 2014 to early 2017, until she began experiencing pain in her back and neck. It was at this time that her doctors informed her that the cancer was back and had spread to her bones. “That was a huge blow to us,” Pete says, noting it was stage 4 cancer. ”She knew she wasn’t going to be cured.”

In early 2018, the cancer spread to Minnick’s Iungs and liver. She was actively looking for her next clinical trial when she passed away in April, at age 39, but her legacy lives on.

Meaningful work

Prior to her cancer spreading, Minnick took a position as a Senior Manager of Marketing and Patient Engagement Alliances at The Cen­ter for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), a non-profit dedicated to educating the public and patients about clinical research. 

She was passionate about her job for many reasons not only was there a focus on the patient com­munity but it also allowed her to work from her Philadelphia-area home which gave her the oppor­tunity to continue her medical care as well as spend time with the couple’s children, Emily and Sam, now ages 9 and 7.

Being a part of CISCRP was more than a job for her.

“She felt like she was helping the entire clinical trial community as well as doing something she liked,” says her husband. CISCRP gave her the opportu­nity to offer hope to other people who were in her same situation.

Personal experience

“Rachel had direct experience which gave her such an inside perspective,” says her former boss, CISCRP founder, Ken Getz. “It fed her compassion and helped her understand, even more deeply, what so many patients are going through.” Getz says Minnick’s leg­acy lives on through her work; the panels she moderated, the clinical trial awareness initiatives that she spearheaded, her collaborative projects, and the enduring educa­tional brochures, newsletters and other patient communications that she wrote during her time with CISCRP.

“Her passing was truly a shock to me,” says Pete Koerner, a phar­maceutical industry colleague, who worked with Rachel and the CISCRP team for two years.

He described Minnick as some­one who was always enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated to her family, her staff and her work.

“She was invested in clinical research,” says Koerner, explain­ing Minnick was proud to be the patient voice and wanted to advance the techniques and technologies in the clinical trials process.

“She felt like she was helping the entire clinical trial commu­nity.” Getz reflects on Minnick’s lasting impression, “Her compas­sion combined with her profes­sionalism and the passion that she brought to CISCRP has inspired so many people – those who reported to her, those who she mentored, and those with whom she col­laborated. That will stay with us forever. She truly helped to define our culture and evolve it in such meaningful ways.”

To search for medical conditions in a specific location visit our Search Clinical Trials page.

To stay informed about clinical trials, visit our Resources page.

Press Release – AWARE for All 2021

Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) Announces Second Annual AWARE for All 2021 Virtual Event Series

The nonprofit organization aims to boost awareness and interest around clinical trial research through FREE interactive, educational events

BOSTON, MA, March 18, 2021 – Today, the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging the public and patients as partners in the clinical research process, announced the upcoming launch of AWARE for All 2021 – a free virtual event series designed to educate the general public about clinical trial research and participation. In the series’ second year, CISCRP will host five regional AWARE for All 2021 virtual events across the country from April through November 2021, with a focus on engaging diverse communities to ensure representative and inclusive clinical research for the future.

Supported by local research teams, advocacy groups, and members of the AWARE Industry Consortium (AIC), each regional AWARE for All 2021 event will focus on select medical conditions and therapeutic areas including but not limited to COVID-19, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. The events offer participants a 90-minute user-friendly webinar led by medical professionals, short informational videos to help participants better understand the process and importance of clinical research, facilitated conversations with real patients sharing their experiences with clinical trials, and a five-minute exercise break to help encourage healthy habits.

Attendees are also able to visit an online informational exhibit center, featuring clinical research and healthcare resources that are free to access throughout the event. The informational center for each event will include exhibits presented by AIC members, including Genentech, Janssen, Otsuka, Pfizer, Biogen, IQVIA, Novartis, CSL Behring, EMD Serono, and WCG, in addition to local advocacy organizations. Attendees can expect a “traditional” event booth experience in a digital format, like one-on-one conversations with company representatives, interactive informational collateral, and digital downloads.

“As we head into our second year with AWARE for All 2021, we have been able to expand to even more communities across the U.S., driving attention to clinical research via locally common conditions and therapeutic areas – all of which are currently the focus of clinical research and require a diverse patient population,” said Phyllis Kaplan, senior manager, events and community engagement, CISCRP. “Through this event series, we hope to give participants a front row seat to learn about not only what clinical trials are but also what clinical research could mean for the community as a whole and, potentially, themselves as they pursue the best treatment possible.”

The first event begins in April and will follow the timeline listed:

  • AWARE for All Northeast (Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Hartford/New Haven, Baltimore), Thursday, April 15, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. EDT.
  • AWARE for All Northwest (Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Boise, Billings), Thursday, May 20, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. MDT.
  • AWARE for All Midwest (Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis), Thursday, July 22, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. CDT.
  • AWARE for All Southwest (Los Angeles, Dallas/Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas), Thursday, October 21, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. MST.
  • AWARE for All Southeast (Nashville, Charleston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Jacksonville), Thursday, November 18, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. EST.

“For nearly 20 years, CISCRP’s mission has been to educate individuals on the positive effects clinical research has on patient outcomes, and we’ve found reaching out through thoughtful, community-based efforts like AWARE for All – even amid the pandemic – is where we can make the biggest impact,” said Ken Getz, founder and chairman, CISCRP. “While awareness for clinical research has never been higher, we understand there is still a level of hesitation and lack of clarity among the general public. Now is arguably the most important time in history to educate these communities about the clinical trial process and introduce potential participants to studies that can lead to even more groundbreaking discoveries.”

To learn more about AWARE for All 2021, including community registration information, visit ciscrp.org/events/aware-for-all/aware-for-all-events-2021. Organizations interested in sponsoring the series or exhibiting in the virtual informational exhibit center should contact CISCRP at awareforall@ciscrp.org or 877.633.4376.

About CISCRP

The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to engaging the public and patients as partners in the clinical research process. CISCRP provides free education and outreach to the general public and patient communities. Visit www.CISCRP.org for more information or to participate in CISCRP’s educational initiatives. For additional questions about AWARE for All, contact awareforall@ciscrp.org or call 877-633-4376.

Media Contacts:

Jillian Hammell | Crowley Webb for CISCRP

jillian.hammell@crowleywebb.com 

716 856 2932 x237

Medical Hero Spotlight: Rachel Patties, Congenital Generalized Lipodystrophy Advocate

Oklahoma Mom on a Mission Reflects on Daughter’s Rare Diagnosis

Rachel Petties, a mother of five, refuses to let her daughter’s rare genetic disorder define the lives of their family.

From the moment she first laid eyes on her daughter, Rachel Pet­ties knew something was wrong.

“Alani was all muscle,” she recalls. “She had no body fat whatsoever. Her head size seemed abnormal, and her belly was very large. She was stiff and cried all the time.”

It was the beginning of a diffi­cult journey.

“I ended up dragging my infant baby girl in and out of hospitals, doctor to doctor, specialist to spe­cialist,” Petties says. “You have no idea what loneliness is until you have to pack your child up, hop on a plane and trust someone to help you when you know no one else believes you.”

Receiving the diagnosis
In 2015, Alani was clinically diag­nosed with congenital general­ized lipodystrophy.

“My world crashed, and I’m still recovering from the loss,” recalls Petties, a single mother of five. “Receiving her diagnosis was a bit­tersweet moment – my suspicions were confirmed, but I was very sad because what was wrong with her was worse than I expected.”

Alani, now 4 years old, was enrolled in a long-term clinical trial program at the National Institutes of Health to evaluate her treatment and find improved ways of treating the disease through pre-screening and other medical advances. The hope is to prevent future complications by identifying and addressing problems early on.

“She’s a patient for life,” says Pet­ties. “I’m extremely encouraged. Alani has elite specialists study­ing her case. She’s monitored closely and watched by top profes­sionals in the field.

“We have to travel once a year to Bethesda, Maryland for a host of tests that usually last 2-3 days. It’s a very stressful time for us, but we know it’s necessary.” 

Finding the strength
Petties’ days are long and exh­austing. She must prepare special foods for Alani and is the only fam­ily member trained to administer crucial injections.

“It’s very isolating, and I’m afraid of what will happen if I’m ever physically unable to give her this medicine,” she says.

Restricted mostly to the ind­oors, Alani can be awake for 24 hours and sleep for 15 hours str­aight. Her home must be bleached daily to fight germs, and she must be monitored for exces­sive eating.

“Before gaining some control over this disorder through the clinical trial she’s cur­rently on, Alani would eat the paint off the walls, erasers, socks and soap;’

Petties says Although she’s cut back dramatically to focus on her kids, Petties is committed to getting the word out about lipodystrophy.

“I woke up every morning with the mentality to outrun this disease,” she says. “I ran state to state, city to city, advocating with every ounce of life in me. We marched in Washington and visited senators’ offices, petitioning for their help.

“Sometimes you’ll want to fight, other times you won’t care one bit. I had to teach myself that it’s important to be okay with all those emotions and just get through the day, because every day Alani wakes up is another day this disease didn’t win.”

Alani, who enjoys dancing and performing karaoke, knows she’s different and doesn’t care, accord­ing to her devoted mom. And although weary, Petties herself finds beauty in the darkness.

“I am rare,” she says. “I am a mother of a child who holds a title of 1 in 10 million. That by far is nothing to be sad about. She is incredible and unique, and she’s all mine.” 

To search for medical conditions in a specific location visit our Search Clinical Trials page.

To stay informed about clinical trials, visit our Resources page.

Medical Hero Spotlight: Jillian McNulty, Cystic Fibrosis Advocate

Born with cystic fibrosis, Jillian McNulty has spent her entire life fighting to stay healthy.

It was only during a clinical trial, when she tried a new medicine called Orkambi, that she met with success. Since then, she’s been fighting for other cystic fibrosis (CF) patients to have access to the drug too.

One of four children, McNulty’s oldest brother had cystic fibrosis and died when he was five-and-a-half. Her prognosis wasn’t good either. When she was born, doctors told her parents she wouldn’t live past her fifth birthday. She’s now 43 and jokes that she has geriatric CF, and is grateful to be alive.

Last hope
Over the years, McNulty has suffered from recurring pneumonia, and sometimes spent 8-9 months out of the year in the hospital.

“I didn’t have a great quality of life,” she recalls, noting her condition was at its worst in 2012 after her other brother, who had special needs, died. She was able to run a marathon before her lung function dropped from the high 50s (percent) to the 30s. She became dependent on IVs and antibiotics.

Fortunately, McNulty qualified for the Orkambi clinical trial, which required her to have lung functioning in the 40s and to not be hospitalized for four or more weeks.

She got emotional when she got the news that she qualified. “I can remember I cried my eyes out because to me this was my last chance, my last hope. Things started to turn after that.”

Though she struggled for the first four months of the trial, at six months her hospitalizations started to decrease. But things took a turn in 2016, when she contracted swine flu and influenza A at the same time. Her lung function was down to 11 percent. Things were grim, but McNulty pushed on.

Changing lives
“Orkambi brought me back from the brink,” McNulty says, explaining it took three months to recover.

She says the drug, which is manufactured by Vertex, works on the underlying cause of CF, a life-threatening disease that affects approximately 75,000 people in North America, Europe, and Australia.

“It’s not a cure but it tweaks the channels so our bodies respond better,” says McNulty, whose lung function is now at 42 percent.

These days, she spends only six weeks a year hospitalized. But now she’s struggling with end-stage kidney disease, another chronic condition she’s had for years, and needs a kidney transplant. But before that, she needs a lung transplant.

Still she’s optimistic about her future and the future of other CF patients.

“It’s all changing. People with CF are going to live so much longer,” says McNulty. “That’s incredible.”

The CF advocate
For the past 11 years, McNulty has campaigned for CF patients in her native Ireland, including lobbying the Irish government to make sure Orkambi and other medications were made available for CF patients. Her campaign was successful and she obtained “pipeline” approval for 10 years of promised accessibility to the drug.

“My friends were dying and I couldn’t stand by and say nothing,” says McNulty, who’s won three awards for her advocacy. “I needed people to see what Orkambi had done for me.”

She’s also been instrumental in campaigns related to the hospitalization of CF patients, helping ensure they get single-unit hospital rooms to prevent them from being exposed to other sick patients while their immune systems were so compromised.

Her advocacy continues on, and she urges patients with CF and other conditions to participate in clinical trials: “It’s worth the chance, it’s worth the risk. It has the potential to transform your life in ways you can’t imagine.” 

To search for medical conditions in a specific location visit our Search Clinical Trials page.

To stay informed about clinical trials, visit our Resources page.

 

Medical Hero Spotlight: Shauna Whisenton

Shauna Whisenton was once an individual living with sickle cell disease (SCD). Now she’s an advocate for better therapies, a cure, and better under-standing of SCD.

Whisenton, now 41, was born with SCD, a painful, inherited disorder where red blood cells are misshaped, restricting blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.

“It was all going pretty well until I had my third son,” she says. “Then my health started to take a turn for the worse.”

While nursing, she was admitted to the hospital every few weeks and, despite best efforts, was not replenishing enough fluids for her body to function properly and had major organ complications.

Her doctor asked her to consider a bone marrow transplant clinical trial to cure SCD.

Whisenton didn’t believe she could be cured and some members of her family were unsure if she should undergo the treatment. For many in the minority com-munity, there is a fear that medical testing may exploit patients instead of helping them. However, clinical trial oversights ensure safety during participation.

After consulting an SCD patient advocate, she realized, “Although a cure is not guaran-teed, this could be an amazing opportunity. If that is not possible for me, researchers could learn something from my participation to save others.”

Finding a donor

The best chance for a donor match would be a family member. Whisenton lost her parents when she was a child and her sister wasn’t a match; but her 9-year-old son, Dorian, was a 50-percent match.

A successful transplant meant a better life for Whisenton and her family.

“I felt like my children had suffered enough watching my pain,” she says.

Whisenton’s son had marrow extracted from his pelvis bone. It was a one-day procedure for him but the start of a two-year ordeal for his mother.

 
Journey

Whisenton’s journey was tough. She was hospitalized, received anti-rejection medications, and had to undergo was an important part of procedure preparation and recovery. This included coordinated care to provide relief from the symptoms of her disease and the transplant, including pain and detoxing from opiates, but also the physical and mental stress from the procedure.

“It’s important to equip someone who’s received a curative therapy with tools to rebuild their lives during and after recovery,” she says.

Within nine months of receiving the bone marrow transplant, Whisenton was SCD-free and now only carries the trait.

Whisenton calls the date of her transplant her birthday.

 
Patient advocate
 

Whisenton has made it her life’s work to help those living with SCD. She’s the manager of sickle cell disease community engagement for the ASH Research Collaborative (ASH RC) Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Trials Net-work (CTN), established by the American Society of Hematology, the world’s largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatments of blood disorders.

Whisenton is carrying out the mission of the ASH RC CTN to improve the lives of individuals with SCD by expediting the development of new therapies through innovative clinical trial research. Whisenton ensures that the voice of the patient is heard at all stages of these clinical trials.

“SCD warriors, don’t lose hope. There are many treatments in the pipeline to help those living with this disease have a better quality of life. Our hope is that advances in research will bring more effective treatments to individuals living with SCD.” 

To search for medical conditions in a specific location visit our Search Clinical Trials page.

To stay informed about clinical trials, visit our Resources page.

Medical Hero Spotlight: Shanelle Gabriel, Lupus Advocate

When Gabriel was in college, she always felt tired and would wake up feeling stiff. She dismissed it as general soreness from working out with her dance team.

The Brooklyn-native Gabriel, then 21, went to her doctor, who told her she probably had sinus problems and encouraged her to take allergy medicine.

Diagnosis

A turning point came a month later when she noticed patches of hair missing. She went to a different doctor who asked her a series of questions, including about how tired she was and whether her hands changed colors when they got cold. After testing, Gabriel was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease.

At the time, there weren’t medications specifically designed to treat lupus. Instead, doctors had a blanket approach and prescribed a variety of medicines, including steroids, to treat symptoms, but nothing was specific to the illness.

“Nobody knew how much pain I was in,” said Gabriel, now 36, who describes lupus as, “a hidden disease.”

Many of the medicines had side effects, including increased risk for liver and kidney problems, as well as cataracts and glaucoma.

She still had flare ups that sent her to the hospital, including an inflammation of the membrane around her heart. It was so bad, she had to leave an internship and quit the dance team.

After graduating, Gabriel toured the country as a poet and singer. While in Montana for a performance, she suffered an episode that caused her to be hospitalized due to a lupus-related condition that causes blood clots.”

Clinical trials

When her doctor suggested trying a clinical trial for a new lupus treatment, Gabriel, who’s African American, balked. She was worried because, historically, people of color have been taken advantage of during medical trials.

She later found out the trial was a success and her doctor prescribed the approved drug. The treatment worked but it was demanding, as Gabriel needed to take a full day off from work to receive IV therapy.

Next, Gabriel decided to participate in the next clinical trial, which tested that approved medicine as a self-administered, weekly therapy.

For Gabriel, this drug helped make her symptoms more manageable allowing her to discontinue her use of steroids.

Stigma

While Gabriel was initially nervous about clinical trials, she’s glad she talked with her doctor and other medical professionals, and realized that clinical trials are essential for finding new therapies and cures.

“Due to a lack of participation by women of color in a lot of these trials, (researchers) were not able to actually track if it worked for us,” she said. “There’s only one way to find out if it works; somebody has to do it.

“I just felt like, ‘You know what? I’m fine with that, because there could be a really great benefit from it.’ And I did end up benefiting from it.”

Gabriel is on the patient advisory boards for The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation, a non-profit dedicated to educating and engaging the public and patients about clinical research.

She encourages patients with lupus and other diseases to consider clinical trials, which have many safeguards to minimize danger for participants. She recommends doing your own research, asking questions, and talking to your doctor about clinical trials.

She’s sharing her story and hopes to inspire others.

“It’s becoming a community of people that are advocating and I think there is hope for a cure,” Gabriel said.

Featured in the June 2020 Clinical Trials Supplement, USA Today.

To search for medical conditions in a specific location visit our Search Clinical Trials page.

To stay informed about clinical trials, visit our Resources page.

Plain Language Summary Publication of Key Results from Bayer’s Phase 3 ARAMIS Trial Published in Future Oncology

Boston, MA | February 16, 2021—The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) and Oxford PharmaGenesis worked together with Bayer, an ARAMIS trial investigator and oncologist, an ARAMIS trial participant, and a prostate cancer patient advocate—Dr. Fizazi, Mr. Blue and Mr. Nowak, respectively—to write a plain language summary publication (PLSP) of the 2020 New England Journal of Medicine article on the ARAMIS trial.  The PLSP was recently published in Future Oncology on February 8, 2021 with the title ‘Darolutamide and survival in nonmetastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer: A patient perspective of the ARAMIS trial’.    

Public, patient, and health care community demand for plain language information about the results of clinical trials is extremely high. For more than ten years, CISCRP — a non-profit organization — has been translating scientific clinical trial results information into plain, non-technical language for patients and the public around the world to be communicated in print and digital formats. 

The teams involved—Bayer, CISCRP, Oxford PharmaGenesis, Dr. Fizazi, Mr. Blue and Mr. Nowak—worked to ensure the PLSP was easy-to-read by adding creative visuals, tables and key questions answered about the ARAMIS trial.  The inclusion of patients’ perspectives in PLS publications are important as it conveys unique insights and perspectives that highlight the importance of patient participation in ongoing clinical trials and empower patients to engage in treatment discussions.  In addition, this PLSP was reviewed by an editorial panel inclusive of patients, patient advocates, public and healthcare professionals to evaluate and confirm that a ‘patient-first’ approach was taken in the writing, design, and layout to help patients and caregivers understand the trial results.

The PLSP highlights the ARAMIS clinical trial that began in September 2014 and ended in September 2018 with 1,509 male participants in ages ranging from 48-95. The demographics included 1,194 Caucasian participants, 52 African Americans or Blacks participants, and 193 Asians participants from 36 countries.

The clinical trial was conducted in adult participants with non-metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer (nmCRPC) who received a treatment called darolutamide (brand name Nubeqa®) plus androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) . Darolutamide is approved in several markets around the world, including the U.S., the European Union (EU), Brazil, Canada, Japan and China, as an oral treatment for adults with nmCRPC who are at high risk of developing metastases.  The product is developed jointly by Bayer and Orion Corporation, a globally operating Finnish pharmaceutical company.

“New therapies to treat prostate cancer in men are being developed rapidly,” wrote Mr. Blue, a patient author.  “After five years in the ARAMIS trial, I have been very pleased to see the positive outcomes of the trial which has given me hope for a continued good quality of life for the foreseeable future.”

“Clinical trials are life.  Very simply, for us patients, clinical trials are our life force,” wrote Mr. Nowak, a patient author. “Clinical trials have become so advanced. Today we evaluate if a new potential treatment extends our life. We are often asking if this new treatment will also improve the quality of our life. For me, improving the quality of my life is just as important as extending it.”

Read the full PLSP in Future Oncology here, https://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/10.2217/fon-2020-1291

About the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP)

CISCRP is a Boston-based, globally focused, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization providing public and patient education and advocacy.  CISCRP’s mission is to inform patients and the public about clinical research and the important role that it plays in advancing public health and to help stakeholders in drug development engage with patients and the public as clinical research partners. www.CISCRP.org

About Oxford PharmaGenesis

Oxford PharmaGenesis is an award-winning, independent, global HealthScience consultantcy—providing communications services to the healthcare industry, professional societies and patient groups.  Our clients choose us because we provide the highest level of quality, the deepest level of therapy area experience and the most compelling approaches to evidence communication.  www.pharmagenesis.com

About Bayer  

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of 43.5 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.9 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

PR Contact:                     Joan Chambers, Senior Director, Marketing
                                             jchambers@ciscrp.org
                                             617-725-2750 (Ext. 202)

CISCRP Provides Plain Language Clinical Trial Communication Services to Support Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Sponsors

Boston, MA | January 14, 2021—The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) today announced that it is providing plain language communication consulting and services to companies involved in Operation Warp Speed vaccine studies.  Late last year, CISCRP pledged to donate its expertise and production capabilities to assist Operation Warp Speed sponsors.  At that time, companies soon-to-receive emergency use authorizations and those in late-stage clinical trials began collaborating with CISCRP.

 

Public, patient, and health care community demand for plain language information about the results of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials is extremely high.  At the same time, health officials and Operation Warp Speed vaccine sponsors believe that transparency and disclosure of clinical trials results and information is essential to engendering public trust and facilitating broad support for vaccination programs that are now rolling out globally.

 

For more than ten years, CISCRP — a non-profit organization — has been translating scientific clinical trial results information into plain, non-technical language for patients and the public around the world.  To deliver on its pledge, CISCRP is assisting Operation Warp Speed vaccine sponsors in a variety of ways including sharing best practices; developing, producing, and distributing plain language trial results summaries; and preparing plain language content to be communicated in print and digital formats.

 

Oxford PharmaGenesis, a global provider of medical, regulatory, and scientific writing will also be donating its services in collaboration with CISCRP on this important initiative. 

 

“Given the incredible time and resource pressures that Operation Warp Speed vaccine sponsors are facing, CISCRP decided to donate staff time and expertise; its editorial panel of patients; and print production and distribution costs,” said Ken Getz, CISCRP’s founder and board chair.  “We’re very pleased to be collaborating with so many COVID-19 vaccine sponsors.  And in the process, CISCRP is able to ensure consistent, high quality and compliant practices across sponsor companies,” he added.

 

For more information about CISCRP’s pledge to support Operation Warp Speed vaccine studies, contact Jill McNair, Senior Director, Health Communication, CISCRP via email jmcnair@ciscrp.org or phone at 617-725-2750 (Ext 101).

 

About the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP)

CISCRP is a Boston-based, globally focused, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization providing public and patient education and advocacy.  CISCRP’s mission is to inform patients and the public about clinical research and the important role that it plays in advancing public health and to help stakeholders in drug development engage with patients and the public as clinical research partners (www.CISCRP.org)

 

Contact:                 Joan Chambers
                                 Senior Director, Marketing
                                 jchambers@ciscrp.org
                                 617 725 2750 ext. 202

Parents & Children Share Perceptions & Experiences with Clinical Research: Survey

During the month of April 2020, CISCRP conducted an online US-based survey among 500 parents and their children. The goal of this survey was to gain insight into general perceptions of pediatric trials, preferred channels of communication, key information parents and their children would want about pediatric clinical trials, as well as past or current experiences participating in pediatric clinical trials.

The findings of this Pediatric Perceptions and Insights Study illustrate what matters most to patients and their parents and offer ways to best support and inform prospective pediatric volunteers and their guardians before, during, and after the clinical research process. You can review the report here.

Understanding and Awareness of Clinical Research High among Parents, but Children were Unsure

Parents generally self-report high levels of understanding about clinical research, and generally high willingness to have their child participate in a clinical research study. Awareness, understanding, and willingness to have their child participate were greatest among parents whose children have previously participated in clinical research.

Among children, levels of awareness of clinical research vary by child’s age, as older children were more likely to have heard of clinical research compared to younger children. Overall, few report that they understand clinical research “Very Well.” Though many were not sure whether they would want to participate, 50% report that they would be willing. The top motivation to participate was altruistic as children wanted to advance science through their participation.

Parents and Children Alike Report Burdensome Participation Experiences Despite Good Communication with the Study Team

During participation, parents report highly burdensome experiences and high levels of disruption to their daily routine. Top burdens included traveling to the study clinic and having their child complete lab work (like blood draws and urine tests). However, the majority of parents said that they received updates or study results once their child finished participation.

Results also indicate that children generally received adequate information about their participation. 92% remembered getting information about the clinical trial before they joined, and 85% found this information ‘Kind of’ or ‘Very Easy’ to understand. Despite these expectation-setting measures, children reported some study requirements as difficult to complete, most notably taking the study medication and undergoing blood draws. However, though children report burdensome study experiences, most indicate that the study exceeded their expectations and they would be willing to participate again.

HCPs Key for Parents to Decide to Have Their Child Participate

A consistent theme throughout the survey findings was the critically important role that healthcare professionals play at several points along the journey toward participation. For example, parents discuss clinical research with their child’s doctors often and cite their child’s doctors as the top way they learn about participation opportunities. Children would also most prefer to learn about clinical research through their doctor. Doctor’s recommendations were ultimately the top reason that parents decide to have their child participate.

You can view other CISCRP reports on clinical research perceptions and experiences here.

 

 

2020 Pediatric Perceptions & Insights Study Yields Important Insights on How to Enhance Pediatric Clinical Trial Participation

Survey Conducted by CISCRP and Commissioned by Parexel Shows Perceptions of Clinical Research Are Positive but Logistical Burdens Limit Children's Participation

BOSTON, MA, Dec. 8, 2020 – A 2020 survey of 500 parents and children in the U.S. conducted by the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) and commissioned by Parexel has yielded critical insights into why families choose to participate in clinical research and how to design clinical trials to better fit their needs, according to the survey report.

Pediatric participation in clinical trials is essential to understanding how drugs perform in children, whose physiologic responses to medications and unique disease variants are often different from adults.

While survey respondents expressed largely positive views of pediatric clinical research, actual participation in pediatric research remains low. Only 16.7 percent of clinical trials registered on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) portal involve pediatric patients, and only 12% of trials registered on clinicaltrials.gov are pediatric trials, even though children contributed to almost 60 percent of the total disease burden of the conditions being studied.1  As a result of low pediatric participation, the majority of drugs prescribed to children are only evaluated in adults.2

“Understanding patient health journeys and study volunteer experiences is critical to designing more patient-friendly trials that ultimately enhance pediatric patient participation, so that we can continue to develop newer, safer and more effective drugs for children,” said Ken Getz, Founder and Chairman at CISCRP.

Among the key findings from the survey:

  • Determinants: Parents cited their pediatrician’s recommendation as the most important factor when deciding to enroll their child in a trial, and they ranked the potential risks and benefits of the study drug as the most important information they needed to make a decision
  • Motivations: Children cited the desire to help scientists and doctors learn more about their disease as a primary motivation for participating
  • Barriers: 52 percent of children indicated it was very important to have some or all of their study visits at home if they were part of a research study
  • Diversity: Parents who identified as Black self-reported a better understanding of clinical research and were more willing to enroll their child in a clinical trial than parents who identified as Caucasian
  • Perceptions: The majority of children reported a positive experience with clinical trials, and 90 percent indicated that they would join another study

“The results from this survey inform tangible steps we can take as an industry to encourage more pediatric participation in clinical trials, including more decentralized clinical trial approaches, enhanced communication with caregivers about clinical trials as a care option and better engagement between industry and pediatric providers,” said Sy Pretorius, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical & Scientific Officer at Parexel. “The pandemic has further demonstrated the benefits of bringing trials to patients in their homes, rather than asking patients to come into the clinic for every visit, and this is amplified in the context of pediatric trials.”

Pediatric participation in clinical trials is an issue of growing importance as the medical community has embraced the need to better understand the effects of medications in children. In 2012, Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act to incorporate pediatric evaluations earlier in the drug development process, legislation which has resulted in 500 pediatric-specific drug-labeling changes. 2

The Pediatric Perceptions & Insights Study was created, in part, as an outgrowth of questions included in the baseline CISCRP Perceptions & Insights Study that is conducted biennially in adult populations, which gauges public and patient perceptions, motivations, and experiences regarding clinical research participation. Its goal is to monitor trends and identify opportunities to better inform and engage the public and patients as stakeholders and partners in contributing to the clinical research enterprise.

To view the Pediatric Perceptions & Insights Study final report, please click here.

To hear a podcast about the survey results featuring a parent advocate survey respondent, please visit click here

About Parexel
Parexel is focused on supporting the development of innovative new therapies to improve patient health. We do this through a suite of services that help life science and biopharmaceutical customers across the globe transform scientific discoveries into new treatments for patients. From clinical trials to regulatory and consulting services to commercial and market access, our therapeutic, technical and functional ability is underpinned by a deep conviction in what we do. For more information, visit https://www.parexel.com/.

 

About CISCRP
CISCRP (Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation) is an internationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to educating and informing the public and patients about clinical research. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, CISCRP works to raise awareness, enhance experiences, and strengthen communication and relationships among participants, research professionals and the public through various services and events. For more information, visit https://www.ciscrp.org/.

References: 1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345947/#:~:text=Despite%20about%2027%25%20of%20the,Organization%20(WHO)%20portal%2034

2 https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/144/4/e20191571

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