Clinical trials play a critical role in developing new treatments and therapies for Parkinson's disease, an age-related degenerative brain condition that causes slowed movements, tremors, balance problems, and more. Parkinson's disease affects more than 10 million people worldwide, and its prevalence is expected to continue to rise as the population ages. However, with some treatment options currently approved and many trials looking for newly diagnosed or treatment-naive patients, recruiting patients for these trials can be quite challenging. Using a variety of different recruitment channels can help reach the right patients, where they are and when they are looking for options. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting different channels for Parkinson's disease clinical trial patient recruitment.
Before deciding on an approach to patient recruitment for your Parkinson’s trial, it’s important to take stock of what you know and what you need to know about this patient population. It is crucial that researchers take the time to understand the patient population affected by Parkinson's disease and how they prefer to receive information. For example, many people with Parkinson's disease may have difficulty with mobility or experience tremors, making it difficult to use certain digital channels. In addition, many people with Parkinson’s are seniors who may not be involved in social media – but they may be cared for by adult children or grandchildren, so care partner preferences should be taken into account as well. Understanding these details can help you tailor your recruitment strategies, communication channels, messaging, and imagery to reach the right people.
Based on what you know about the patient population and what outreach methods and messaging might resonate best, you can then select recruitment strategies for impact. These may include:
Partnering with patient advocacy groups: Patient advocacy groups (PAGs) can be invaluable resources for recruiting participants for clinical trials in Parkinson's disease. These groups can help spread the word about clinical trials through email, social media, and direct mail, offer education and resources about the disease and clinical trials, and connect potential participants with trial opportunities. Partnering with these organizations can be a powerful way to reach engaged patients and care partners to increase enrollment in clinical trials.
Utilizing social media and digital channels: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as online patient communities and forums, can be effective tools for reaching potential participants and their care partners. These platforms allow you to target specific demographics and interests, making it easier to reach people who are most likely to be interested in participating in a clinical trial. Additionally, social media and digital channels can be a great way to build a community around your trial and offer ongoing support and information to participants as appropriate.
Leveraging traditional advertising: While digital channels are becoming increasingly popular for clinical trial recruitment, traditional advertising channels such as newspapers, radio, and television can still be effective. These channels can help reach older populations who may not be as active on social media or other digital channels.
Building relationships with Parkinson's disease specialists and healthcare providers: Parkinson's disease specialists and healthcare providers can be valuable allies in recruiting participants for clinical trials. These providers have a front-row seat into the disease presentation, symptoms, and quality of life of their patients. They can help identify potential participants and make referrals to trial sites. Building relationships with these providers can be an effective way to increase enrollment in clinical trials.
Considering genetic testing: Parkinson's disease has been found to have a genetic component, with mutations in several genes associated with the disease. Genetic testing can help identify individuals who are at higher risk of developing Parkinson's disease or who may have a genetic mutation associated with the disease. These individuals may be interested in participating in clinical trials for Parkinson's disease. Additionally, genetic testing can help identify potential participants for clinical trials that are specifically targeting individuals with a particular genetic mutation.
Without clinical trial participants, research cannot be successful; patients must take part in Parkinson’s disease studies in order for new and better treatments to make it to market. If you’re running a trial, recruitment should be top-of-mind, and the channels used to drive enrollment should be thoughtfully selected based on the needs of the trial and the patient population. If various channels are used appropriately, you can increase enrollment in your clinical trial and improve the chances of success. And Sano can help – we combine genetic testing, recruitment, and long-term engagement in one platform, accelerating enrollment and simplifying operations for precision medicine studies. To learn more, download our case study or get in touch below.