Skip to content

The New York Times-Why Patients Turn Down Clinical Trials

The New York Times-Why Patients Turn Down Clinical Trials

To the Editor,

Re “Lack of Study Volunteers Is Said to Hobble Fight Against Cancer” (“Forty Years’ War” series, front page, Aug. 3):

I read with interest your article about the chilling effect

 that low recruitment for clinical trials has had on the search for meaningful treatments. 

Patients can play a critical role in the search for cures, but it is time we rethink the entire paradigm surrounding clinical trial design and recruitment. 

Clinical trials offer patients some say in their own destinies, and to leave a legacy that may save others, even if it’s too late to save themselves.

Unfortunately, the current system governing clinical trials gives patients concrete reasons to balk at participating. Often, clinical trials are aptly named: they are trials — difficult and exhausting, at a time when a patient’s physical and emotional capacities are already stretched thin.

Within each of us is a Rosetta Stone that could unlock the potential to cure disease, but it requires that we reconsider how we approach treating a seriously ill patient — and how we approach being one.

Margaret Anderson

The writer is chief operating officer of FasterCures, which aims to accelerate the pace of medical research and development.