First-of-its-kind app for patients on clinical trials being piloted by Cancer Research UK

Cancer

Cancer Research UK, in partnership with London-based tech company Stitch, are going live with an app for patients to use whilst participating in a clinical trial.

The Trialmap app, which was co-created with patients, is being piloted on a clinical trial run by Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development.

It will allow participating patients to easily view information on the trial, get reminders about appointments and what they might need to do to prepare for them, and give patients the opportunity to provide real-time feedback regarding their time on the trial, allowing researchers to optimise their clinical trials, both current and in the future.

The aim of the app is to ensure patients feel valued for their participation, and to improve patient experience during clinical trials.

Dr Stephen Nabarro, Head of Clinical Operations and Data Management at the Centre for Drug Development said: “This is the first time an app like this has ever been used on a clinical trial. Trialmap has the potential to transform the experience of patients enrolled on clinical trials by giving them easy access to key information about their trial and making sure their voices are heard.

“By hearing directly from patients, and using their feedback when designing future clinical trials, we can make key improvements to how they’re run, allowing us to optimise the design of clinical trials and get more new therapeutics to the people who need them.”

Co-creating the app

All the information is there. The information about your next visits, future visits, where you’ve got to go to, if you want to give feedback, all that information is all there in one place. You’ve not got to go to the hospital website and scroll through different pages.

– Angie, a member of Cancer Research UK’s Patient Involvement Network

As the key audience for, and users of, the app, patients have been involved in the co-creation of the app, along with Stitch and the Centre for Drug Development.

Earlier this year, over 40 members of Cancer Research UK’s patient involvement networks and panels took part in consultations and user testing. The response from patients was overwhelmingly positive, and their feedback has directly led to key changes being made to the app.

Some of the changes implemented in the app’s design and function as a result of these consultations include switching to less technical language, adding easy ways to contact Cancer Research UK’s nurses to support patients emotionally, and adding more information about why they’re being asked for feedback on their trial and what will happen to the feedback they give.

Really beneficial for people on a trial, in lots of ways. A lot of people still rely on letters. I still get letters for my appointments. But if you’ve got the app, that’s invaluable. I love the idea of being able to give feedback as you go along.

– Sue, a member of Cancer Research UK’s Patient Involvement Network

The patient user testing also allowed Stitch to identify changes that can be made in future versions of the app, like using visual explanations of the clinical trial and access for carers.

In addition, they ran workshops with Cancer Research UK and Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre Research Nurses, who are experts in the delivery of clinical cancer research, and a key interface between researchers, health professionals and people affected by cancer.

Cancer Research UK’s partnership with Stitch was recently recognised in a report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. The report highlighted the importance of retaining patients on clinical trials, and identified Stitch’s use of patient engagement platforms as a positive disruptor having the potential to transform the clinical trial landscape.

I think it’s very good. It’s well thought through; anticipating the needs of the patients. I am so impressed.

– Jeremy, a member of Cancer Research UK’s Patient Involvement Network

Working in partnership

An example of the Trialmap interface on a mobile phone

An example of the Trialmap interface on a mobile phone

The Cancer Research UK Centre for Drug Development has been pioneering the development of new cancer treatments for 25 years, taking over 150 potential new anti-cancer agents into clinical trials in patients.

The clinical trial piloting the app is investigating a drug called HMBD-001, which was developed by Hummingbird Bioscience who have entered a clinical development partnership with the Centre for Drug Development.

Through their partnerships, the Centre for Drug Development offers full support to progress new therapeutic agents to an early phase clinical trial through a variety of flexible business models.

Stitch improves patient experience by making it easy for patients to manage their trial journey and share their feedback. This feedback enables faster, more patient-centric trials, with better retention.

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