The Angels of Hope Cancer Information Resource Foundation The Angels of Hope
   
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The Need
The Need

Every individual has the potential to develop cancer. The defining factors may be genetic, the environment or each individual's own immune system's ability to suppress the disease.

Identifying high risk groups and individuals is being addressed through early detection. But there is still much work to do on furthering the science to produce drugs and therapies that will provide a cure for this most prevalent of diseases.

Without clinical trials that prove out the efficacy of various drugs and treatment options, the science cannot be advanced and new drugs brought to market. For many cancer patients, there is no approved drug or treatment option and the only hope for prolonging their life expectancy is to participate in a trial and have access to a cutting edge therapy or treatment.

The Facts:
  • According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 3 Americans are expected to get cancer in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 1.3 million cases of cancer are newly diagnosed each year in the United States alone.
  • About 553,400 people are expected to die of cancer this year - more than 1,500 people a day.
  • Only three percent of people diagnosed with cancer each year currently participate in a clinical trial.
  • There are 141 different types of cancers.
  • In 2001, there were approximately 60,000 clinical trials being conducted in the U.S.
    • Approx. 9,000 trials - or one-sixth - are funded and/or supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) under the National Institutes of Health.
    • The balance of the trials (51,000) are funded or sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, universities, clinical research facilities and specialized cancer treatment centers.
  • Currently there is no single "clearing house" database for all clinical trials in progress. Information on NCI trials are available through their site, www.clinicaltrials.gov, but this does not include the privately funded or sponsored trials.
  • With over 5,000 different associations: patient advocate, specialized disease, support, research and institutional organizations, there are innumerable sources of information repositories. However, to the uninitiated consumer these resources are not easily accessible or known as, again, there is no single "clearing house" or search facility for this information.
  • It is impossible for oncologists, healthcare professionals and group practices to keep current on every new trial that emerges.
  • Patients face two major challenges in making decisions regarding their treatment options:
    • Obtaining reliable, easy to understand information on all the treatment options open to them.
    • Being able to support the expense of travel and accommodation as it is most probable that the appropriate trial will be some distance away from the patient's home, as well as dealing with the logistics and the emotional drain it imposes on the entire family.
The Solution

Addressing the Need:

Various professional organizations are currently actively working with government regulatory bodies (FDA, NCI, NHI), research institutions, pharmaceutical companies and patient advocacy and protection groups to bolster the infrastructure and streamline the cancer clinical trial process.

The current overwhelming need is to provide the public at large, and cancer patients and their caregivers in particular, relevant and timely information regarding advances in cancer research and the many treatment options that are available. In addition, access to support groups, research institutions, specialized cancer treatment centers and alternative treatment centers are other important resources to acquire information.

The Angels of Hope Cancer Information Resource's mandate is to provide the communication channels through which information can be accumulated and disseminated to educate all segments of the public-both those in need of treatment as well as those who just want to be informed.

One such channel will be a single, comprehensive website that will provide quality, practical information and services to cancer patients and their caregivers. This will encompass a complete and comprehensive database of all open and active clinical trials in the United States (both NCI and privately funded/sponsored) with a "translator" to explain to patients in easy to understand plain English the medical terms employed for their treatment options as well as several other practical and relevant information resources and services.

Another project the Foundation is currently working on is the creation of a search engine that would bring all quality cancer related informational sites under one easy to access umbrella enabling the information seeker to quickly identify the sites most relevant to their needs.

In addition to the Internet, projects directed at other media and communication channels are being worked on in order to achieve the objective of educating and providing quality information that will reach all segments of the population including minorities, the illiterate, the poor and the elderly.

Providing transportation assistance to a clinical trial through frequent flyer miles and discounted hotel rooms/airfares is another area that the Foundation will assist patients and aid in trial accrual thus helping the patient and furthering the science in the process.

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