Three oncologists—Sunil Patel, MD, and Michael Fisch, MD, MPH—both in the Department of General Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center—and Michael Thompson, MD, PhD, Medical Director for Cancer Research at ProHealth Care in Wisconsin, are developing an informed consent application for the iPad. Their goal: to help patients understand clinical research and accelerate study accrual.
Patel practices at an MD Anderson regional care center in Katy, Texas, and one of his professional interests is to make clinical trials more attractive to patients treated in the community setting.
“Those of us who are out in the community see patients who often have different attitudes toward clinical research than those who practice at the big tertiary referral centers,” he said, noting that an app that makes the informed consent process more interactive and informative will increase patients' comfort with participating in a trial.
“I think we will end up with patients who are really excited about going on to trials, even trials that require some sophisticated analysis of patients' values and sophisticated understanding of molecular biology.”
A prototype application is being used in a clinical trial involving patients being treated for node-positive breast cancer. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, MD, MSc, in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology at MD Anderson is the principal investigator.