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Monday, May 19, 2008

Together with his oncologist: Matchmakers for new drug trials for multiple myeloma

Diagnosed last fall with smoldering multiple myeloma, 45-year-old Glenn Codderre relies on his oncologist for the standard drug regimen now used to treat the disease. Glenn, a Boston-area consulting manager for Hewlett-Packard, began his search for trials through the nonprofit Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, which contracts with EmergingMed.

Together with his oncologist, he decided not to participate in one trial EmergingMed found because of concern about side effects and the trial drug's interaction with his current medications. He says the consultant he works with at EmergingMed "helps me save time and stay informed on clinical trial options while I continue to balance family and professional responsibilities." He hopes they will find a drug trial and that the drug being tested will slow the progression of his disease to cancer.

For-profit matchmaker firms like EmergingMed help patients identify experimental drugs that might help them and connect patients with the appropriate clinical trials. In Glenn's case, an effective drug might slow the progression of his disease to cancer. EmergingMed narrows its searches by taking into account the stage of the disease and the patient's prior treatments.

EmergingMed gets paid through fees that it charges medical centers, advocacy groups and research sponsors. The company's web tool is free to patients. The company doesn't disclose personal information gathered on its web site.

Advice to the families of cancer patients: Consider using a matchmaking service to find a clinical trial of a drug that could help your loved one.

Read another clinical trial story.

Thanks to Laura Landro for the source article in the Wall Street Journal of May 14.

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