An article in The Washington Post today discusses an initiative through which a group of about 40 specialists in the management of advanced forms of genitourinary cancers (including prostate cancer) get together to share ideas and knowledge to help their patients.
The idea behind the initiative — known as GUMDROP — is to try and make sure that appropriate patients can be referred to appropriate clinical trials that may only be available at individual centers in the area around Washington, DC, from as far north as Johns Hopkins in Baltimore down into DC itself and the other surrounding suburbs. (GUMDROP stands for for GenitoUrinary MultiDisciplinary D.C. Regional Oncology Project.)
The doctors get together about once a month. They tell each other about the trials they are running; help each other understand who is appropriate for those trials; and then cross-refer patients who might be appropriate for those trials. The group includes highly experienced clinical researchers from major academic institutions and community specialists in oncology, urology, and radiation oncology.
Using this process, patients and their doctors find out about trials they might not otherwise hear about. There are now literally hundreds of prostate cancer trials going on at any specific point in time, and the data on ClinicalTrials.gov, which offers a resource that collects information on all of these trials, is not always easy to search or to access even when one has experience.
How about considering whether you or your support group could help to set up similar initiatives in other areas around the country? It’s a way to really get the right men into cutting edge clinical trials and help to move such trials forward faster — while also helping patinets who most need that help early.