March 16, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 11


Of Note


Seminar to offer information about cancer-related clinical trials

Every year thousands of cancer patients miss out on valuable information about treatment options available to them through clinical trials. Clinical trials are research studies conducted by doctors on human subjects. Doctors closely monitor the progress of a patient as he or she proceeds through treatment while taking a new drug.

Although several hundred clinical trials for cancer patients alone are ongoing every year in San Antonio, many patients do not participate because they are unaware of them. Harris Interactive conducted a survey of more than 6,000 cancer patients, via the telephone and Internet, and reported that 84 percent of the patients said they were either unaware of clinical trials or not sure that participation in a clinical trial was an option for them. The U. T. Health Science Center, the Cancer Therapy and Research Center and the Southwest Oncology Group are just a few of the organizations in San Antonio that offer clinical trials.

In an effort to educate the public about the benefits and availability of clinical trials in San Antonio, the Clinical Trials Task Force of San Antonio will present "Cancer Clinical Trials: Hope is Here" from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 31, at the Omni San Antonio Hotel, 9821 Colonnade Blvd. The event is free and open to the public. Registration in advance is required.

Representatives from organizations including the UTHSC, the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the Cancer Therapy and Research Center, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's San Antonio affiliate, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research and many others will participate.

"The Clinical Trials Task Force is unique in this country because it has one of the largest number of organizations working together to increase public awareness of clinical trials," said Betty Razvillas, chair of the Clinical Trials Task Force of San Antonio Seminar Committee.

Presenters and exhibits will provide information on access to trials, challenges to enrolling in trials, ways to identify relevant trials via the Internet, schedules for upcoming trials and how to obtain financial reimbursement for participation in clinical trials.

Presenters will include Drs. Geoffrey Weiss and Peter Ravdin, professors in the department of medicine at the UTHSC. Dr. Weiss will discuss the history of clinical trials in San Antonio and recent advances in cancer treatment that resulted from clinical trials. Dr. Ravdin will discuss the future of research in clinical trials.

The program will end with a panel discussion with cancer survivors who have participated in various clinical trials in San Antonio. Participants will have the opportunity to learn firsthand from these patients who have experienced what a clinical trial is like.

Razvillas said members of the Clinical Trials Task Force plan to offer more educational programs like this one in the future.

The seminar is underwritten by an unrestricted educational grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.

For more information or to register, call (210) 616-5949.