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Enhancing the Clinical Trials Search Function on Cancer.gov

June 16, 2015, by Warren Kibbe, Ph.D.

Warren Kibbe, Ph.D. Director, NCI Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology

Warren Kibbe, Ph.D.
Director, NCI Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology

One month after the launch of the redesigned Cancer.gov, I’m pleased to announce enhancements to the website’s clinical trials search function. These improvements enable patients and health care providers to more easily find accurate and timely information about active and recruiting NCI-supported cancer clinical trials.

The Cancer.gov clinical trials search function now draws trial records from NCI’s Clinical Trials Reporting Program (CTRP) database rather than the National Library of Medicine’s ClinicalTrials.gov database.

With this change, the scope of trials on Cancer.gov is now focused on active and recruiting NCI-supported clinical trials. NCI-supported trials—whether funded in full or in part by the institute—are included in the CTRP database, including all trials conducted at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. Summaries for non-NCI-supported cancer trials that were previously available on Cancer.gov, such as those for international trials, will continue to be available on ClinicalTrials.gov.

Another advantage to using the CTRP is the consistency in how clinical trials are described, with explanations of trial design, enrollment criteria, and other important information provided in consistent language and with the same level of detail. In addition, the status of all trials is updated and verified more frequently.

What hasn’t changed: The new search form includes the same data elements as before, and trial summaries are presented in the same format. This is the first in a series of changes to the clinical trials search to better meet the needs of patients, health care providers, and clinical researchers. I am looking forward to keeping you informed as new capabilities become available.

The enhancements to the clinical trials search function come at a very exciting time in cancer clinical research. The number of clinical studies that include molecular markers (biomarkers) is growing dramatically. For example, patient accrual will soon begin for NCI-MATCH, the largest precision medicine trial of its kind ever conducted, and several other NCI-supported precision medicine trials are already enrolling patients.

Clinical trials are a critical component of cancer research, serving as the final step in advancing laboratory discoveries to the bedside, doctor’s office, or community clinic. Our goal is to make the search for trials easier and more efficient, providing an important public service and helping to advance cancer research for the benefit of all patients.

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