The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) has launched in the Fox Trial Finder, which matches volunteers with the trials most likely to need them, in the U.K., Ireland and Canada.
Fox Trial Finder is a first-of-its-kind online platform that anonymously connects volunteers with and without Parkinson's disease to clinical trials in critical need of participants. The service increases the efficiency of the enrollment process and empowers patients to get more involved in the discovery of new treatments.
"Fox Trial Finder is a practical, user-friendly solution to help everyday people get involved in research," said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. "Its matching capability removes one of the roadblocks to participation by making it easier to find the right trials. The tool instantaneously sorts through scores of trials to find the ones that specifically need you. And once you save a profile, Fox Trial Finder will continually alert you to your best matches as new trials launch, without your having to come back to the site to search again."
Volunteers fill out simple Web forms with information such as geographic location and medical history. Fox Trial Finder then compares this information against its database of all Parkinson's clinical trials currently enrolling volunteers. The tool instantly returns a short list of the best potential matches. The volunteer can then review these matches and use a built-in Fox Trial Finder messaging function to connect with trial teams.
"As both a physician and a Parkinson's patient who's lived with the disease for over 14 years, I personally identify with the urgent need to find a cure, and I know that clinical research is vital to getting many of the answers we need," said Soania Mathur, Patient Council member at The Michael J. Fox Foundation and a Fox Trial Finder volunteer. "Fox Trial Finder empowers volunteers to connect with trial teams and enroll in studies, allowing the patient and research communities to work together towards the cure. I signed up and I've encouraged my friends and family to do the same."
Fox Trial Finder is also a resource for the research coordinators actively seeking volunteers for their trials. After creating a login on the system, coordinators can review de-identified profiles of eligible volunteers in their area. Coordinators can then reach out to volunteers directly, through the built-in messaging system, to further explore the qualifications and appropriateness of the volunteer for their trial.
No matter who initiates contact, volunteers' privacy is protected by the highest level of security protocols; personal identifiers, such as name and contact information, remain private unless and until volunteers proactively choose to share this information with a trial team.
Launched in beta version last July and officially in April 2012 in the U.S., Fox Trial Finder currently includes more than 190 clinical trials in its system, and nearly 7,000 volunteers have already registered. The site is now live in the U.S., Ireland, Canada, U.K. and Australia, and is expected to launch in other international locations coming later this year.
The Fox Trial Finder database includes both interventional studies designed to test potential new drugs, and observational studies intended to contribute to overall understanding of Parkinson's disease. To be posted to the site, all studies must have obtained regulatory approval.
"Fox Trial Finder sends the Parkinson's community an invaluable message: There's something you can do," said Michael J. Fox. "Participating in research makes you an agent of change. Fox Trial Finder is a practical tool to help you get started. That's a message we hope everyone affected by Parkinson's will receive loud and clear."
To create a profile and start finding potential trial matches today, visit www.foxtrialfinder.org.