Vice President Joe Biden has unveiled a new federal database of all cancer clinical trials underway in the U.S. and in 192 countries as part of his “Cancer Moonshot” initiative.
In an op-ed for Time.com, Biden said the new Trials.Cancer.gov database is designed to make sure cancer patients have the most comprehensive information available about the latest research into promising experimental therapies.
“Friday, as part of the ‘Cancer Moonshot’ that President [Barack] Obama asked me to lead, we’re announcing new steps to help cancer patients and their doctors search for and find the right clinical trial,” Biden said.
“We asked our country’s Presidential Innovation Fellows — some of the brightest technology minds in the world — to partner with the National Cancer Institute to design a new, patient-friendly search system for clinical trials that would be as easy to use as a travel site. The result is Trials.Cancer.gov, an easy-to-search database that contains detailed information on thousands of cancer trials.”
In conjunction with the online project, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration bringing together clinical researchers to design “smarter, more efficient trials for patients,” Biden said.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is stepping up efforts to ensure that important information about clinical trials is shared with the public, and impose penalties for failing to report and share information.
“Clinical trials are essential for developing new and more effective cancer diagnostics and treatments,” Biden added. “Every cancer treatment used today required a clinical trial in order to be approved. But right now, less than 5 percent of cancer patients enroll in a clinical trial, often because patients and doctors don’t know what trials are available.
“We can do better — and we are.”
The new database allows patients to search this site using common words — rather than medical jargon — to find a list of trials that could be right for them or their loved ones.
Biden said the underlying data could be used by app developers and patient groups to create tailored resources for patients.
The Cancer Moonshot initiative, announced last year, aims to identify new diagnostic procedures, treatments, and cures for the nation’s No. 2 killer (behind heart disease).
“It won’t be easy. But we can do this — for the loved ones we’ve lost and for the ones we can save,” Biden said. “So that the patient in the room, who hears the dreaded diagnosis, can know that there is hope.”
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