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The Finding Cancer Trials Collaborative

Finding the right cancer clinical trial(s) at the point of need is difficult. Searches retrieve too many trials for which a potential participant is not eligible, or relevant trials may be missed, particularly those that are not disease specific and/or based on molecular alterations. An additional confounding factor is that there are multiple sources of clinical trials information. The goal of NCI’s Finding Cancer Trials Collaborative is to make it easier to find relevant clinical trials.  Initial efforts are focused on standardizing and structuring clinical trials eligibility criteria.

Progress to Date

Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee (CTAC) Clinical Trials Informatics Working Group  (CTIWG): In a November 2017, presentation to CTAC, the CTAC CTIWG noted that many have attempted to structure eligibility criteria with limited success in some disease or health-care settings, but that, to date, no efforts have systematically structured eligibility criteria in a standardized fashion for use by the broad cancer clinical trial community. CTAC accepted their recommendation that structuring eligibility criteria should be a priority for improving NCI’s clinical trials search.

Request for Information (RFI)

  • Strategies for Matching Patients to Clinical Trials RFI NOT-CA-18-063 collected responses from April 2018 to June 2018
  • Received 39 RFI respondes:
    • Academic Organizations: 13
    • Advocacy Organizations: 3
    • Patients: 6
    • Private Sector Companies: 15
    • Professional Societies: 2

Common themes from RFI respondents:

  • Standard and structured eligibility criteria should be developed
  • Structuring is fundamental to enable technology-fueled solutions
  • It is difficult to structure eligibility criteria
  • Set realistic timeframes since this will take a long time
  • Automated processes can be used to support data curation
    • Some manual effort will likely be required
  • Interoperability and data standards are key to facilitate matching patients to information in EHR (desirable outcome)
  • Create or adopt data standards for eligibility criteria
  • Involve experts in change management and human centered design
  • Integrate presentation of clinical trials into the clinic workflow
  • Suggestions for improving clinical trial search:
    • Search interfaces should be user specific
    • Present eligibility criteria (and other clinical trial information) in patient friendly language

Other Related Activities

Hackathons and the HHS The Opportunity Project (TOP) Tech Sprint for Health Innovation: Hackathons and a 3-month HHS TOP Tech Sprint for Health Innovation provide an opportunity for computer scientists to convene and apply their expertise to a challenging problem, e.g., structuring eligibility criteria in existing protocol documents. Work to date has provided insight regarding the frequency with which various eligibility criteria are expressed and may provide guidance to the development of a standardized protocol template.

Presentations on the Finding Cancer Trials Collaborative

  • Updated:

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