NIH’s National Center for Research Resources now makes it possible for individuals that want to participate in research studies to be matched and connected online with researchers doing studies that may be the right fit for them. This first disease-neutral volunteer recruitment registry called “ResearchMatch.org” is a convenient user friendly matching model complementary to Clinicaltrials.gov.
“Participant recruitment continues to be a significant barrier to the completion of research studies nationwide. Recent NIH data indicates that just 4 percent of the U.S. population has participated in clinical trials. “ResearchMatch” is a tool that can improve the connection and communication between potential participants and researchers so that the public is able to contribute to advancing new treatments,” said NCRR Director Barbara Alving M.D.
The site located at www.ResearchMatch.org places the burden of connecting the right volunteer with the right study to the researchers, whereas Clinicaltrials.gov asks volunteers to identify the trials that could work for them.
“ResearchMatch” offers a convenient solution to the complex competitive and often costly participant recruitment system. NIH data indicates that 85 percent of trials don’t finish on time due to low patient participation and 30 percent of trial sites fail to enroll even a single patient,” according to Gordon Bernard, M.D., Principal Investigator of the Vanderbilt CYSA hosting the national registry.
After an individual has self-registered to become a volunteer, ResearchMatch’s security features ensure that personal information is protected until the volunteer authorizes the release of their contact information to a specific study that may be of interest to them. Volunteers are notified electronically when a possible match is found and at that time the volunteer can make the decision regarding the release of their contact information.
For the first year, only researchers affiliated with participating CTSA institutions are eligible to use “ResearchMatch.” However, plans are in place to make the system available beyond the CTSA consortium by 2011. Currently 52 individual institutions associated with 40 CTSA sites are part of the “ResearchMatch” network.