On 5/11/13 mAss Kickers Foundation hosted the first TC R.A.M. research seminar at the San Diego Foundation. Scientists, healthcare professions, patients, and cancer advocates gathered to discuss how to use research to combat these horrible diseases. We decided that to efficiently fight Tumors/cancer, we must first understand the “tools” available to us. Millions of dollars are raised for research, but do people understand or care HOW those dollars are spent? In general people support the fight against cancer, but few understand how efficiently their dollars are being used to fight these diseases.
The discussion was started by Lynda Barbour of ACS-CAN and Jane O’Neill of UCSD Moores Cancer Center. They discussed the benefits of participating in clinical trails. We were shocked to learn that ONLY 5% of patients participate in clinical trails. Clinical trials are often used as a “last resort”. People need to understand that there are many types of clinical trials. In the later phases of a trial, they are trying to determine the dosage efficacy of a drug. The drug is classified as safe, but they are trying to determine the most efficient dosages for patients. Dr. Howard Taras of UCSD CTRI shared Research Match, a resource for patients to find appropriate clinical trials they maybe eligible. Dr. Peter Kuhn of Scripps Research Institute served as the facilitator of the discussions. Ms. Amanda Nixon of Keep-A-Breast and the Young Survival Coalition and Mrs. Peg Ford of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of San Diego offered their valuable input to the discussion. The doors for collaboration have been opened! We all concluded that something needs to be done! It will start by educating people HOW and WHY to consider clinical trials. Not only will this add value to the effectiveness of the drug being tested, but it could also help prolong or even save the life of the patient on the trial. It is very important for patients to realize that they have the option of a clinical trial. 5% participation in clinical trials… WE MUST REMEDY THAT!