LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 12, 2014) -- Many Kentuckians join the crowds of fans at University of Kentucky athletic events. The UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) hopes that just as many people will "Be Part of the CROWD" - the Clinical Research Opportunities Wildcat Database.
CROWD is a secure and confidential tool that helps match people who are interested in participating in clinical research with current and potential future studies at the University of Kentucky. Across UK's campus, researchers are working towards new cures, treatments, and strategies to improve human health, especially for diseases that disproportionately affect Kentuckians. Of course, human research, also known as clinical research, needs human participants.
"Lack of participant enrollment is probably the number one obstacle in clinical research," said Dr. Peter Sawaya, professor of medicine and director of the CCTS Clinical Services Core. "Participation in studies really moves research forward for all types of conditions, from common diseases to tough and rare disorders."
Research participants at UK receive several benefits: they are overseen by expert medical scientists at a leading health care facility, they play a more active role in understanding and managing their own health, and most importantly, they have a unique opportunity to contribute to society something that could have not been done without their participation.
"Participating in clinical research is a way to give back to society," said Sawaya, "It's a way to improve health care, perhaps not directly to the participant, but certainly to a family member, a friend or just someone stricken with an illness.”
Clinical research at UK provides robust and rigid protections for participants. All studies are regulated by the highest of ethical standards and legal codes. Federal law requires an informed consent process so that potential participants are fully informed of the risks and benefits of a study before deciding to participate. They also receive information about the progress of the study and are free to leave the study at any point.
With CROWD, individuals who are interested in participating in clinical research at UK can enroll in the database and consent to be contacted about studies in their selected topics of interest. It only takes a few minutes to enroll in CROWD, and enrollees can indicate their interest in over 30 therapeutic topic areas, like cancer, exercise, mental health, sleep disorders, or smoking cessation. Perhaps the greatest need is for healthy volunteers who do not have the disease or condition being studied.
When a relevant study opens, the database manager sends an email with basic information about the study. If interested, the potential research participant would respond to the database manager, who would then connect the volunteer with the researcher. Enrolling in the database is not an obligation to participate in any study. Volunteers can withdraw their names from CROWD database at any time.
While there are national databases for clinical research participation, such as ResearchMatch, CROWD only lists research studies that are happening at UK, so individuals can easily find local studies that would be convenient for them to participate in.
Sawaya hopes that CROWD will help to create a culture of participation in clinical research in Kentucky.
"There's a lack of understanding about the importance of clinical research," he said. "But it's an opportunity for people to become more proactive with their own health, and advance future medical treatments that will benefit others."
For more information or to enroll in CROWD, please visit http://ccts.uky.edu/ukclinicalresearch or contact Roxane Poskin, Participant Recruitment and Marketing Manager, at (859) 257-7856 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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