Dearth of Clinical Study Participants Leads UCSF to Launch New Trial Finder Tool

UCSF has launched a new tool to better connect researchers and potential participants in clinical trials. Photo by Susan Merrell

By Mitzi Baker 

Obstetrician gynecologist Vanessa Jacoby, MD, MAS, is dedicated to recruiting a diverse mix of participants in her clinical studies, but despite casting a wide net one of the biggest challenges in her trials remains finding enough people to include.

“Like so many other researchers, I have struggled repeatedly to meet my enrollment targets,” she said.

An estimated 80 percent of U.S. studies do not meet enrollment goals. This under-enrollment in a study can lead to scientific challenges, ethical concerns, financial difficulties and lack of diversity in trial populations.

The bottom line is that scientists can’t complete the scientific aims of their studies without adequate enrollment.

“Not meeting enrollment targets is a huge impediment to the advancement of science in every field,” said Jacoby, who recently became the director of the Participant Recruitment Program at the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UCSF.

To help address the issue, UCSF has launched a tool that could make it easier for researchers and willing study participants to find each other.

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