For Patients: Why Clinical Trial Participation Is Essential for Alzheimer’s Research

On the heels of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, we’re taking some time to help spread the word about the important role clinical research plays in the understanding, treatment, and prevention of the disease, as well as the positive impact clinical trial participation can have on your life and the lives of others affected by Alzheimer’s. In this post, we will discuss some of the common misconceptions about clinical trial participation, and explore why participating in an Alzheimer’s clinical trial may be one of the best ways to help prevent, cure, treat, the disease.

About Alzheimer’s: A Public Health Issue

Did you know that 5.7 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s Disease? By 2050 that number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. Add to that the impact Alzheimer’s has on the health and wellbeing of caregivers and the numbers of those affected skyrockets. (Alzheimer’s Association)

According to Mayo Clinic, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia – a group of brain disorders characterized by brain cell degeneration. As the disease progresses, patients experience lapses in memory and changes in thinking and reasoning that may impair their ability to complete everyday tasks that were once routine. Ultimately, the disease is fatal, and the toll it takes on a patient’s loved ones and caregivers is extreme. Around 83% of people providing care for Alzheimer’s patients are family members or other unpaid caregivers, and compared to those who care for people without dementia, Alzheimer’s caregivers are twice as likely to report high rates of financial, emotional, and physical stress. (Alzheimer’s Association)

When it comes to the inner-workings of the human brain, there are still a lot of unknowns. What we do know about it is primarily the result of research. If you currently live with Alzheimer’s Disease, clinical trials could be an opportunity to have more control over your treatment options. If you are not living with Alzheimer’s, clinical studies might be a great opportunity for you to help expand the current body of knowledge and treatment options; because so little is known about the human brain, the search for Alzheimer’s preventions and treatments also requires the study of brains that are unaffected by Alzheimer’s. New studies are seeking volunteers every day.

Current Treatments

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and is the only top 10 cause of death currently without a prevention, cure, or significant treatment to slow its progress. Luckily, a large body of research exists, with scientists, doctors and patients working toward better treatments, therapies and support for both patients and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s.

How Your Participation in a Clinical Trial Can Help

As with any medical intervention, there are potential risks and benefits to clinical trial participation. It is important to note that only the most promising research treatments get to the point of patient involvement.

It is important to note that only the most promising research treatments make it to the point of being offered to patients. Because Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease, all drug therapies and treatments are founded on researcher’s current understandings of how the brain works. The human brain is incredibly complex, and because so little is really known about how the brain works, there are important research participation opportunities for people not currently experiencing symptoms of dementia. Researchers understand the reality of the toll providing care for people with Alzheimer’s has on caregiver health and wellbeing, and studies are also being conducted to help understand how to provide support for caregivers.

Conclusion

Clinical trial participation is necessary, especially for a disease like Alzheimer’s. This disease is the fifth highest cause of death in the United States, and is currently the only top-ten illness that is without effective prevention, treatment, or cure. Currently, no drug has been shown to effectively treat or slow Alzheimer’s symptoms, and a few major drug companies have even stopped running their drug therapy trials.

This by no means indicates that Alzheimer’s is untreatable or incurable; what this means is that there is a huge need for more innovative research and participants willing to help progress the available treatments and current understandings of the human brain.

Tips for Low Budget Patient Recruitment Ad Campaigns:Maximize ROI with Traditional Marketing Collateral

In the digital age, focusing all of your attention on digital advertising might seem practical—especially when your patient recruitment advertising budget is minimal. While digital ads are relatively inexpensive and have the ability to reach a large audience, digital ads alone might not be the most effective way to recruit patients. In this article, we’ll discuss the value of traditional media and offer some simple, cost-effective ways to utilize traditional marketing collateral to maximize ROI across your entire campaign.   

Tips for Low Budget Patient Recruitment Ad Campaigns: Leveraging the Landing Page

In today’s patient recruitment setting, advertising budgets seem to be continuously shrinking, but the desired results of advertising campaigns are still the same – recruit patients and finish the study on time, within the given budget. Having access to your site’s advertising metrics allows you to maximize your marketing return on investment (ROI), and can strengthen your request for sponsor funds. How do you get those metrics without breaking the bank? This article will provide tips for requesting sponsor ad funds and maximizing your advertising ROI by creating a detailed ad plan, complete with real metrics gathered from study-specific landing pages.

Site Selection Tips: How to Make Your Site Stand Out

In today’s clinical research industry, sponsors are under increased pressure to cut waste and tighten their budgets. This has made the site selection process highly competitive, especially given the market’s rapid trend toward globalization. Luckily, there are steps you can take that can help increase your odds of selection, while simultaneously making your site a more efficient conductor of clinical trials. This article will discuss four tips to help your site stand out in the selection process.

Using Social Media for Patient Recruitment: How to Reach Your Ideal Patient  

Social media is an increasingly popular mode of communication. By 2019, it is estimated that around 2.77 billion people worldwide will have active social media accounts.1 This means that patient recruitment must have a space in the social media world, but with so much information competing for users’ attention online, is it enough to simply place an ad or create a post about your study? While we have written about Facebook’s potential for patient recruitment in previous articles, this post will discuss how to let your ideal patient guide your social media recruitment efforts across a variety of social platforms.

Contract Negotiations: What are the Deal-Breakers?

Contract negotiations are just that—negotiations. Some back and forth is to be expected when building an equitable set of contract terms, but at what point do terms become non-negotiable? Here are five examples of some the major deal-breakers in contract negotiations:

Traditional vs. Digital: Diversifying Patient Recruitment Funds Across Media

As we all know, patient recruitment isn’t a straightforward process, and the investment of time and money can be quite large. While digital media can be an efficient and economical advertising realm, investing solely in digital advertisements could result in a failure to reach many potential patients. Perhaps surprisingly, a one-handed advertising approach could affect your site’s credibility. This blog explores how diversifying your advertising dollars across both traditional and digital media can help you reach potential patients.

Using Facebook Ads for Patient Recruitment: How to Select an Audience

Facebook’s vast and diverse user population provides an invaluable resource for patient recruitment, but without the right audience, it will be nearly impossible for patients to find your study. In this blog, we will discuss how to select the right audience for your ads in order to get the most out of your Facebook advertisements.

Using Facebook Ads for Patient Recruitment: How to Create Ads with Strong Visual Imagery and Good Calls to Action

With over 1.15 billion active users, Facebook is becoming an increasingly important way for clinical research sites to recruit patients for their studies. While patient populations certainly exist on Facebook, connecting with them on the world’s largest social network isn’t always easy. In order for patients to find your study in an online space already saturated with ads, creating advertisements with strong visual imagery and good calls to action is vital. 

The Pros and Cons of Different PI Compensation Models

A frequent question asked in our industry is: "How much should we pay investigators for their work on a clinical trial, and what methodology should be used?" While this question seems straightforward, it is quite complex. The amount and method by which you pay investigators can play a big role in the success, or lack thereof, of your site. 

Clinical Research Coordinators: The Glue that Binds a Clinical Research Program

Clinical research coordinators are an incredibly important part of the clinical research process. Their role has continued to evolve in recent years, as clinical trials have continued to grow in complexity.

Five Reasons Why Every Clinical Research Site Should Consider Joining a Site Network

For many research sites, navigating the clinical trial landscape can be very intimidating. Site networks offer many benefits to research sites, but here are five main reasons why every clinical research site should consider joining a site network:

May News Roundup: What’s New in Research?

Stem Cells Edited to Fight Arthritis – Read More >

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine and Shriners Hospitals for Children have rewired stem cells from mice in an effort to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis and other conditions. These stem cells are developed into cartilage cells that produce a biologic anti-inflammatory drug that may be able to replace arthritic cartilage, protecting joints and other tissues from further damage.

3 Tips for Site Selection

Site selection is a complex process composed of multiple factors on which research sites are evaluated. It may seem as if your success is solely in the hands of sponsors and CROs, but there are several things you can do to help your site get selected on more studies. Here are three tips from the site selection and business development team at PharmaSeek:

3 Tips for Negotiating Advertising Budgets

Advertising plays an important role when it comes to recruiting patients for clinical trials, but it’s often underutilized by sites or not used at all. Whether this is due to a lack of internal staffing or expertise, there is a lot of potential going untapped when sites bypass study advertising.

February News Roundup: What's New in Research?

World’s Smallest Pacemaker Revealed – Read More >

The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS), a new pacemaker the size of a nickel, can now be implanted in patients with bradycardia to help pump enough blood through the body during physical activity. The tiny device is just 1/10th the size of a traditional pacemaker, and it is currently the only leadless pacemaker approved for use in the United States. The TPS is also unique in that it doesn’t require cardiac wires or a surgical pocket under the skin to deliver a pacing therapy.

Subject Injury Language: What You Need to Know

One of the negative aspects of clinical trials is the possibility that a patient will suffer an injury or illness as a result of their study participation. As such, one of the most important pieces of a contract is the subject injury language. ‘Subject Injury’ is defined as an injury, illness, adverse event/reaction, or death caused by a study subject’s involvement in a clinical research study. Prior to the study, the research site and the study sponsor should come to an agreement on what exactly constitutes a Subject Injury, and who pays in the event of a Subject Injury.

Print Marketing: A Viable Option for Patient Recruitment

As many marketers know, the sustainability of print advertisements has been thoroughly questioned in today’s digital age. In June of 2012, Forbes Magazine published an article about this very issue—taking a stance that surprised many at the time. Forbes stated, “While many businesses have completely migrated their advertising efforts to the web because of its cost effectiveness, exposure potential and convenience, print still maintains its stance as a powerful and necessary component of an ad campaign.” 

Benefits of a Clinical Trial Management System

A Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS) is a computer software system that manages data within a clinical trial. The system centralizes the administrative components of each study, including billing, reporting and tracking.  Many research sites, institutions, sponsors, and CROs use these systems to monitor clinical trials. Below are 3 key benefits of implementing a CTMS.