28 posts tagged “clinical trials”

The record on research: Catching up with TOA member Cris

Posted March 15th, 2017 by

Back in January we introduced Cris, a member of the 2016-2017 PatientsLikeMe Team of Advisors living with ALS. She’s also a fierce patient advocate who’s participated in several clinical trials since her diagnosis. We recently caught up with her to learn about her experience with clinical trials and why access and awareness of clinical trials is so important.

Despite her shy personality, Cris got involved with patient advocacy with the encouragement of her ALS specialist, Dr. Richard Bedlack. Determined to overcome her shyness, Cris found motivation and purpose in advocating for future patients, family and friends and the belief that access to all trials should be easily available for a patient and not complicated to locate. In May, she attended the ALS Advocacy Day in Washington D.C., where she represented pALS from North Carolina and shared her own ALS journey with her state’s senators.

Cris believes that clinical trials are critical for survival, present and future, but physicians don’t know about, or take the time to discuss current trials with patients unless their facility is active in research. There are very few active ALS clinical trials and because of stringent trial protocols, many patients are not accepted due to progression of the disease. She believes that since ALS is fatal, drug companies are worried patients might succumb before end of trial.

Since her diagnosis in 2014, Cris has participated in several clinical trials:

  • Started a new trial but ultimately failed in the qualification process.
  • Started a “blind” (placebo vs drug dosage) – but couldn’t tolerate the side effects of the drug dosage and was advised not to continue.
  • Participated in a monitored daily physical activity study.
  • Currently enrolled in the year-long Lunasin Virtual Trial (completing at the end of March 2017). This trial is in partnership with Duke and PatientsLikeMe and all monthly input and results can be viewed by PatientsLikeMe patients.
  • Currently participating in a 6-month study through the Precision Medicine Program (ALSTDI), to compare movement data collected using accelerometers and overlay those data with an individual’s self-reported ALSFRS-R scores. Involves keeping track of progression with activity monitors for six days.

What is the goal of the Duke Lunasin Virtual Trial?

  • The primary hypothesis is that a supplement regimen containing Lunasin can decrease the rate of ALSFRS-S progression by 50% relative to matched historic controls.
  • While it might not be the most delicious drink, Cris makes it work by mixing the Lunasin with juices or smoothies. Cris, like many of her fellow pALS, is willing to go to any length for a treatment or cure.
  • Want to know more about the Duke trial? Check out what Dr. Bedlack had to say.

New to the ALS community? Cris has some words of advice:

Know that it’s okay and expected, when first diagnosed with this disease, to have the wide spectrum of emotions from sadness, madness, confusion, “why me” and fear (to name a few). I highly recommend putting aside all the negativity that goes with this journey as quickly as possible. Regroup, focus and be creative on establishing a new way of life to cope with various stages of disability. Contact your local ALS chapter, national or worldwide or other pALS – they’re great resources.”

On PatientsLikeMe:

Cris shared about Lunasin and being a part of the Duke trial. With 151 PatientsLikeMe members reporting that they’ve used Lunasin to treat their ALS, 140 treatment evaluations and almost 45,000 forum posts, Lunasin is a popular topic in the ALS community.

Want to learn more? Head to the forum to check what people are saying about Lunasin.

Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.


The power of your data: Improving clinical trials

Posted December 6th, 2016 by

For these 24 Days of Giving, we’re rethinking what it means to give and how the power of patient data can change healthcare for the better. Another example of the impact your data can have? Making the clinical trial experience better for patients like you.

Now let’s be real, that’s no short order. So where do we even start? With you, and every new member who joins the community. Every day, members are sharing their thoughts on trials, what would make them most likely to take part, and what would turn them off. It’s an ongoing research experience, but let’s take a look at snippet of results so far:

4,718 members have taken part so far…

How do you learn about clinical trials?

  • 59% learned about a trial from your health team, 24% via the web.
  • 24% of you said you first thought of participating in a trial without suggestion from anyone else. For those who participated in past trials, the first person to suggest that you participate in a trial was a doctor (43%) or another healthcare provider (19%).
  • Those of you who took part in clinical trials decided to because of your own desire (80%).

Key takeaway: Most people are still finding out about trials through their care teams or providers, but when it comes to actually deciding to take part, it’s your own desire that motivates you.  

What are your impressions of clinical trials?

Side note: These results are just from those that have taken part in a trial.

  • 55% of you were very or extremely satisfied, and 51% would tell other patients about the trial. Not bad, but not awesome.
  • 9% considered dropping out — side effects and worsening of overall health after trial were the main reasons.
  • You said the best parts of the trial were the opportunity to contribute to science and medicine (78%), and learning more about your condition (46%).
  • You said that the worst parts of the trial were the chance of being given an inactive drug or placebo, experiencing negative effects and discomfort with study procedures.
  • Only 38% of you recall being told about the results. Yikes!!! As you know at PatientsLikeMe, we have a give data, get data philosophy. And you can better believe we work with our partners to get on board with that philosophy, too.

Bottom line: Trial results need to get back to those that take part. Period.

Thanks to all who’ve participated and put the patient perspective into improving clinical trials!

 

 

Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.