Arizona Cancer Research Alliance doctors work to expand clinical trials

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Clinical trials can give participants access to drugs and treatment that aren't even available yet but many patients don't know about them.

A group of 40 doctors have formed the Arizona Cancer Research Alliance (ACRA). Their goal is to bring experimental studies to Arizona patients.

Dr. Steven Finkelstein, 21st Century Oncology's national director, said many community providers don't have the infrastructure needed to conduct complex clinical trials. That means patients usually don't find out about those options unless they do the research on their own, he said.

Out of more than one million cancer patients around the country, less than 5 percent participate in clinical trials, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Factors include fear of the risks, cost, convenience, and not knowing about them.

Finkelstein is executive director of ACRA. Under the ACRA, 40 oncology professionals would have access to a network of 80 other medical professionals, including cardiologists, lab directors, radiologists, and opthamologists. Finkelstein says this extensive partnership would give the group more access to clinical trials. 

ACRA is working on two active clinical trials for breast cancer and follicular lymphoma. Finkelstein said the Alliance hopes to have seven to 10 active studies within the next year.

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