It is no secret that patient recruitment in clinical trials is a problem. The statistics are grim: 15-20% of sites enroll ZERO (yes, zero) patients, while 48% of sites under-enroll. All of this results in delays, which are costly for the sponsor and don’t shine a great light on clinical research sites overall.
Patient recruitment is even more difficult for Alzheimer’s-related clinical trials. Screen failure rates of 95% and up are common with this indication. Especially on the Alzheimer’s front, traditional marketing methods, such as radio, newspaper, or even TV ads, are extremely limited. So are digital marketing tools, such as social media ads and Google Ads. Many turn to the database of the hospital or physician that is conducting the clinical trial to gather patients for a memory loss study. Still, the vast majority of these sites under-enroll. So what's the best option?
Putting the patient first
Oftentimes, marketers feel that one should approach family members of people with Alzheimer’s to find patients to enroll in clinical trials. I don’t think that this is a particularly good approach because it gives away the power of the patient, it stigmatizes the patient. And this is exactly what you don’t want to happen.
Many people believe that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis means that your mind and your personality both go down the drain immediately. While Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, this progress can take one or two years or up to 15 years. The most important thing to remember: it is possible to live well with Alzheimer’s and it is also possible to make your own decisions (especially when it is in an earlier stage).
To fill your memory loss clinical trials, try not to stigmatize people with Alzheimer’s. Put their needs first and approach them directly (instead of their family). Education is key. You may have to explain things a few times and you may also need to involve a family member or close friend as a study partner, but you don’t want to give away the power from the patient.
Where do I find patients with Alzheimer's for my clinical trial?
There are several resources to help you find patients for your Alzheimer’s clinical trial:
Technology can also help you to find people with Alzheimer’s to join your clinical trial. Citruslabs offers a modern solution to patient recruitment for clinical trials, with memory loss, Alzheimer’s, and dementia as a focus area. In fact, we own and operate MindMate, the #1 app for people with Alzheimer’s.
Through this user database, Citruslabs help educate and encourage people with memory loss to participate in clinical trials. Our users are highly engaged and educated about clinical trials. Through our app network, Citruslabs collects an MMSE estimate, as well as also other important medical, demographic and behavioral data to help Alzheimer's clinical trials successfully enroll and meet trial goals.
Patient Advocacy Groups
You can reach out to patient advocacy groups and work together to help patients. Ask them to mention your trial in their newsletter or on their website. As they’re also interested in finding a cure for this disease, it might be worth a shot to just reach out.
You can also go to self-help groups, introduce yourself and your trial, hand out flyers, and collect sign-ups at this very same session.
Need help filling your clinical trial? Reach out to the Citruslabs team for more information on our patient recruitment tools.