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Karmanos researchers obtain federal grant to study patient quality of life on clinical trials

Scientific researchers at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute recently secured a grant through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a study on clinical trials and how they affect a patient’s quality of life over time.

The NIH-funded R21 grant is for $207,887 for the study, “Physician Use of Patient-Report Daily Diary Data in Decisions about Phase II Treatment.” Felicity Harper, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and scientist in the Population Studies and Disparities Research Program at Karmanos Cancer Institute and an assistant professor the Department of Oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM), is principal investigator.

Co-investigators include Elisabeth Heath, M.D., director, Prostate Cancer Research, member of the Genitourinary Oncology Multidisciplinary Team, and associate professor in the Department of Oncology at Karmanos and WSU SOM; Louis Penner, Ph.D., scientist in the Population Studies and Disparities Research Program and professor in the Department of Oncology at Karmanos and WSU SOM; and Richard Gonzalez, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan.

The main objectives of the study are to better understand how clinical trial treatments affect patients on a daily basis and how physicians use information about patients’ daily quality of life to make decisions about treatment.  The study will use daily diary technology to gather information about patients’ quality of life from the perspective of patients.

Each patient will be given an iPad to take home and use to complete a daily five-minute quality of life survey. For the second objective, a summary of the patient’s quality of life data will be provided to physicians before each patient visit. Researchers will analyze how physicians factor this information into their decisions about treatment.

This study is novel in its use of iPads to collect real-time information about patient’s quality of life. This data will help researchers to better understand how patients are affected by clinical trial treatment every day. It will also help them develop methods to facilitate how patient-reported data is collected.

Additionally, these findings will assist in the development of interventions to help physicians integrate subjective patient information with objective clinical data, thereby leading to more informed and participatory treatment decision-making between patient and physician.

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