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COG West Coast: How to (and not to) Engage Patients in Clinical Trials, Caro Unger

In early November the Pharmaceutical Business Conference Group hosted the inaugural COG West Coast meeting in Burlingame, California. Caro Unger of Kinnate Biopharma presenting, providing valuable insights and recommendations for effectively engaging patients in oncology clinical trials. Given the high stakes and emotional challenges of these trials, employing patient-centric strategies from the very start is vital.

Caro's presentation stressed the importance of collaborating with patient groups and advocates early on to incorporate their feedback into trial materials and protocols. This helps ensure documents use clear, non-technical language and address participant concerns upfront. Gathering existing data on the cancer type and patient population is also key to reaching eligible participants.

Several traditional and digital recruitment methods can be used, like collaborating with physicians to identify candidates and using social media advertising to target relevant groups. Central genomic testing labs can help identify patients with certain mutations but have some limitations around access and physician engagement.

Enhancing the patient experience was also covered, with tips like simplifying consent processes, allowing flexible visit schedules, and covering ancillary costs. Common pitfalls are outlined, such as complex language in patient materials, inadequate financial support, and failure to engage community oncologists.

Key Takeaways:

  • Involve patient groups in drafting protocols and materials

  • Use clear language and visuals tailored to literacy levels

  • Gather population data to reach eligible patients

  • Employ both traditional recruitment like physician referrals and digital advertising

  • Address ancillary costs and convenience to reduce patient burden

  • Engage community oncologists early on to establish trust

Caro finished the session by stressing that a multifaceted yet tailored approach is needed, along with gathering ongoing feedback to improve the process.


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