Cancer Clinical Trials in Iowa
By: Sneha Phadke, DO
In the last 30-40 years, mortality and morbidity from cancer has decreased substantially. Improvement in curative intent therapies is a large reason for this shift. Prior to being used in regular clinical care, these therapies were tested in clinical trials. Our ability to continue offering the best cancer care is dependent on robust clinical trial development. This includes the ability to open and run clinical trials at sites around the country and the world. We are indebted to the brave patients who have enrolled in clinical trials of the past. They helped us to move cancer care forward.
As an oncology physician and clinical trial investigator, I wanted to pursue a Master of Public Health to supplement my knowledge of research, statistics, and population health through the continuum of cancer care. Over the last 6 months, I have worked with the Iowa Cancer Consortium on my capstone practicum experience. I’ve applied what I learned in the classroom to real-world practice. My project focused on clinical research, specifically cancer clinical trials, and the landscape of trials in the state of Iowa. I wanted to better understand the following:
- where oncology care is available;
- types of clinical trials offered;
- where the clinical trial sites are located;
- and clinical trial research networks.
Recently, I was able to present the data I collected as well as my observations and reflections about my project at a Research & Clinical Trials Virtual Roundtable presentation, which is available as a recording. The number of oncology clinics in the state (including our outreach networks) impressed me. Given that we are a smaller, rural state, the number of clinical trial sites (12) was also impressive. It takes dedication to open and administer clinical trials, and everyone I spoke with as I gathered information was committed to making sure that their patients had access to trials, whether they were offered at their site or required referral elsewhere.
There is room for collaboration across research networks in the state, and I hope that my practicum project is a jumping off point for such efforts. This could include regional or state-wide registries designed to assess outcomes of patients treated on clinical trials in addition to creating and maintaining a state-wide database of clinical trials. More frequent meetings of key stakeholders (virtually or perhaps in-person again one day) may also be valuable, as we ensure that we are providing optimal cancer care and access to clinical trials for our patients.