UCSF Launches Nationwide Clinical Trial-Matching Website for Breast Cancer

The UCSF Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Care recently launched BreastCancerTrials.org, a free, nonprofit clinical trial-matching service that provides nationwide information for individuals diagnosed with or at risk for breast cancer. BreastCancerTrials.org is the only clinical trial-matching service dedicated exclusively to breast cancer, with an online database that includes information about clinical trials taking place at more than 1,100 medical facilities across the country. The site is an outgrowth of a successful regional pilot program initiated by the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, the National Cancer Institute and patient advocates. The nationwide launch of BreastCancerTrials.org is made possible by a grant from the Safeway Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Safeway, Inc. “BreastCancerTrials.org is an exciting, win-win development for the breast cancer community,” said Laura Esserman, MD, director of the UCSF Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Care and the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center. “Every advance in our understanding and treatment of breast cancer has come from clinical trial results. The more we can empower our patients to find out about and participate in trials, the faster we will be able to complete trials, and the sooner this new knowledge will translate into better care and outcomes for all patients.” By making information about trials easy to find, BreastCancerTrials.org hopes to make consideration of clinical trial participation the norm rather than the exception. By helping patients find and evaluate trials for which they may be eligible, and by encouraging and facilitating patient enrollment in trials, BreastCancerTrials.org intends to increase the rate at which new treatments and procedures are made available to all breast cancer patients, as well as those at heightened risk for developing the disease. “I made the decision to enroll in a clinical trial because I wanted to explore all of my treatment options,” said breast cancer survivor and BreastCancerTrials.org user Isabel Hemming of Los Angeles, California. “Through BreastCancerTrials.org, it was easy to find several trials that were seeking women with the type of breast cancer that I was diagnosed with, and – after talking to my doctor – I was able to identify one that I was eligible for. I hope that my participation in the trial may one day result in improved treatment for other women like me.” BreastCancerTrials.org users enter a detailed health history, which matches them to trials that are specific to their personal health situation. Information on whom to contact for further discussion about a trial and additional criteria for enrollment are also provided. Individuals can use BreastCancerTrials.org on a onetime basis or store their health history on secure servers for continual matching to newly listed trials. Information stored on BreastCancerTrials.org is never sold or shared with external parties. According to the Clinical Research Roundtable at the Institute of Medicine, very few patients are currently aware that they are eligible for participation in research studies, making recruitment challenging for trial sites. By helping individuals evaluate trials as a routine option for care, BreastCancerTrials.org hopes to increase the rate at which new treatments and procedures are developed and made available to individuals at all stages of their disease. BreastCancerTrials.org was initially co-developed as a regional pilot by the National Cancer Institute and the UCSF Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Care, an integral program of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, and a core program of the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. With the success of the pilot program, BreastCancerTrials.org was incorporated as a separate, nonprofit corporation dedicated to the continuing delivery of this service. For more information, visit the website. According to the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2007-2008, breast cancer is a progressive and potentially deadly disease that will affect about 182,460 women in 2008. About 40,480 women will die from breast cancer this year, and there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Additional research is critical and necessary to ensure that the millions affected by or at risk for breast cancer receive the proper treatment they need, according to the American Cancer Society.