UCSF Announces Expanded BreastCancerTrials.org Website

By Elizabeth Fernandez

The Nation’s Only Exclusive Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Matching Service Adds New “Trial Alert” and “SecureCONNECT” Web 2.0 Components

~ UCSF Experts Available to Discuss the Role of Clinical Trials in Finding Cancer Cures ~

The nation’s only clinical trial matching service dedicated exclusively to breast cancer—BreastCancerTrials.org—is now upgraded with new features, greatly expanding access and ensuring privacy for all who want the latest information about research studies and how to enroll. Cancer patients, survivors and those who are at risk now have a free, easy-to-use resource that custom matches them to clinical trials specifically targeted to their personal health profiles. BreastCancerTrials.org empowers patients with knowledge, opens the door to hope and paves the way for future cures.

BreastCancerTrials.org provides patient-friendly descriptions and information for over 160 trials now underway at more than 1,500 medical facilities across the country. Visitors can either browse the service on a one-time basis, or save their personal health histories to the site’s secure servers for continual matching with newly listed trials. The site features trials for detecting and treating breast cancer and improving quality of life; trials are sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and other government agencies, private industry and non-profit foundations.

“Helping individuals evaluate clinical trials as a routine option during their care is the primary goal of BreastCancerTrials.org,” said Laura Esserman, M.D., M.B.A., Director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center. “By raising awareness and encouraging individuals affected by breast cancer to learn more about their options for participation in clinical trials, we hope to increase the rate at which new treatments and procedures are developed and made available at all stages of disease.”

With the addition of the new one-of-a-kind SecureConnect feature, users have a confidential platform from which they can directly contact participating research sites and invite a coordinator to view their personal information to discuss potential eligibility for a trial. This saves time and helps determine whether or not a visit to the research site, which could be miles away, would be worthwhile or necessary. Those who register for the new Trial Alert Service receive automatic notification each time a new trial matching their profile is added to BreastCancerTrials.org.

Conceived by cancer patients and members of the cancer community, the non-profit website service is operated by QuantumLeap Healthcare Collaborative with on-going research and development by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Care and generous funding from the Safeway Foundation.

Carefully conducted clinical trials are the safest and most effective way to find new methods of preventing, diagnosing, and treating breast cancer, yet very few patients are currently aware that they are eligible for participation in research studies, making recruitment for important trials a significant challenge, according to a report in the “Journal of the American Medical Association.”1

The American Cancer Society estimates that about three to five percent of adult cancer patients nationwide currently enroll in clinical trials. With this in mind, BreastCancerTrials.org is a valued resource for patients and physicians seeking to expand their knowledge of trials being conducted in a variety of settings across the country.

“Most women who get a breast cancer diagnosis today will survive—and every advance has come as a result of a clinical trial,” Dr. Esserman says, “Where radical mastectomies or chemotherapy were once the primary solution, many patients now have a variety of treatment options that can be personalized according to specific disease and genetic history. Our aim with BreastCancerTrials.org is to empower patients with knowledge and convenient access to the best treatment options available today, and to spur new discoveries that will inform breast cancer care of the future.”

BreastCancerTrials.org was conceived by two breast cancer patients, turned patient advocates, Joan Schreiner and Joanne Tyler, who knew from Joan’s experience how difficult it was to find clinical trials while dealing with the day-to-day demands of metastatic illness. Their own challenges prompted them to envision an easy-to-use website that could help other patients learn more about the role clinical trials play in advancing breast cancer care, and identify trials that might be right for each individual. Physicians at UCSF’s Breast Care Center embraced Joan and Joanne’s idea and in partnership with the NCI, built a prototype of BreastCancerTrials.org, and subsequently proved that it would work.

The Safeway Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Safeway Inc., has given the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center more than $1 million to launch the website service nationwide. With the goal of further revolutionizing breast cancer research and treatment, improving outcomes by providing patients with access to more information and options, and engaging patients more actively in their individual care, Safeway’s support serves as a potential model for other institutions.

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month and beyond, BreastCancerTrials.org is creating alliances with some of the world’s most respected advocacy organizations dedicated to advancing breast cancer awareness including:

  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure®—the global leader of the grassroots breast cancer movement. The organization will link to BreastCancerTrials.org and collaborate on various awareness initiatives.
  • The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Army of Women initiative launched in October 2008, thanks to a grant from the Avon Foundation for women. The organization is working to recruit one million women of every age and ethnicity, with or without breast cancer, to sign up and take part in basic research studies looking into the cause and prevention of breast cancer. 

By associating with organizations such as these, UCSF and BreastCancerTrials.org hope to transform the way clinical trials are perceived and accelerate the pace of new discoveries and treatments that will save lives for generations to come.

About BreastCancerTrials.org
BreastCancerTrials.org operates as a program of QuantumLeap Healthcare Collaborative, a non-profit corporation. The website was initially co-developed as a regional pilot by the National Cancer Institute and the University of California, San Francisco Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Care (COE-BCC), 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, BreastCancerTrials.org expanded to national scope and currently operates as a program of QuantumLeap Healthcare Collaborative with continued ongoing research and development from UCSF. For further information, visit the site at: http://www.BreastCancerTrials.org.

About the UCSF Carol Franc Breast Care Center
The UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, part of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (http://www.cancer.ucsf.edu), provides specialized services by experts who are at the forefront of the field of breast health. Whether women are seeking breast health screening, diagnostic procedures or treatment, the Center team addresses the unique and often complex needs of the patient, with the goal of tailoring treatment to biology, patient preference and clinical performance. Recognizing that cancer patients and their families have needs beyond the scope of clinical care, the Center also offers support groups, a healing garden, an active Art-for-Recovery Program and a resource center. Women also have access to clinical trials that are evaluating both traditional and alternative approaches to the treatment of breast cancer.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.ucsfbreastcarecenter.org/.

About QuantumLeap Healthcare Collaborative
QuantumLeap Healthcare, a non-profit corporation that manages technology transfer from research into the marketplace,was established in 2005 as a collaboration between medical researchers at University of California, San Francisco (http://www.ucsf.edu) and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. QuantumLeap’s mission is to accelerate technology transfer of high-impact research in clinical processes and systems technology into widespread adoption so that patients and physicians can benefit from the research as soon as practicable. The corporation seeks to support the development and implementation of innovative ways to deliver health care, specifically including efforts that focus on quality-of-care and quality-of-life issues and create initiatives to change clinical practices using Quality Improvement disciplines with a strong patient-centric focus. For more information, visit: http://www.quantumleaphealth.org.

About the University of California, San Francisco
UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For more information on UCSF, visit http://www.ucsf.edu.