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Major National Survey Reveals Significant Increase In Support For Clinical Trials

By Irish Pharmacist - 06th Jun 2022

Majority of respondents (60%) willing to participate in clinical trials while most (88%) think they’re a ‘good Idea’ 

Cancer Trials Ireland urges urgent action to staff and resource National Research Ethics Committee or trials risk being refused 

A major nationally-representative survey has revealed that three-in-five (60%) would be willing to participate in a clinical trial, up from 48% in 2020, rising to four-in-five if the person was very ill themselves (79%), an increase of 9% on 2020. 

The survey was undertaken by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of Cancer Trials Ireland during April and May. It came ahead of International Clinical Trials Day on May 20, when Cancer Trials Ireland hosted a free public webinar on cancer clinical trials as part of its Just Ask initiative, which seeks to encourage patients to ask their doctors if there is a clinical trial suitable for them. 

The webinar from 2-3pm featured cancer clinical trial expert Prof Seamus O’Reilly (consultant medical oncologist and Vice Clinical Lead, Cancer Trials Ireland) on how trials work and how to access them, while previous trial participants shared their experiences on what to expect. Members of the public can access the webinar at www. cancertrials.ie/justask. 

Survey highlights 

The survey also found: 

Two-in-five of those surveyed (41 per cent) had experience of cancer either themselves or in their immediate family. 

Four-in-five (85%) believe clinical trials enable access to new treatment not otherwise available (up from 72% in 2020), while one-in-four (26%) would participate in a trial specifically to access such a treatment (15% in 2020). 

One-in-six (16%) were aware of someone who had taken part in a clinical trial (15% in 2020). 

Four-in-five (80%) would be willing to donate blood for use in clinical research (up from 76% in 2020). 

Nine-in-10 (88%) think clinical trials are a good idea (up from 77% in 2020). 

Three-quarters (75%) believe clinical trials have many safeguards, including ethical and regulatory review (up from 62% in 2020). 

As for those who said they would be willing to take part in a clinical trial (60%), it is interesting to note that men are more likely than women to sign up (67% of male respondents, versus 54% of females). A sense of altruism is the principal reason for taking part in a clinical trial, with three-quarters (75%) hoping to help others get better treatment in the future. 

To access the Just Ask information booklet, or for a full list of clinical trials taking place in Ireland, visit www. cancertrials.ie/justask or telephone the Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurseline, Freephone 1800 200 700. 

The Just Ask campaign is supported by Pfizer, Roche, AbbVie, MSD, Novartis and Bayer. 

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