LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 27, 2015) -- The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center recently launched a new iPhone app featuring a searchable database of the open clinical trials at Markey. The app gives Markey patients and their treatment teams an easier way of identifying the clinical trials currently offered that might be beneficial for the patient's treatment plans.
At any given time, Markey has more than 100 active cancer clinical trials open to accrual. Each trial represents an opportunity for cancer patients to participate in research designed to improve cancer care or measure the effectiveness of different types of treatments and drugs.
The app is also an effective way for referring physicians to quickly find out if there is an appropriate Markey trial for which their patients may qualify.
The new app allows users to search for clinical trials by the site of the disease, the drugs used in treatment, the trial's identification number (protocol number), the phase of cancer being treated, or by the trial's principal investigator -- the researcher, often an oncologist, who is the leader on the research being performed.
The app works in conjunction with Markey's online clinical trials database, updating information in real time. Although some other cancer centers have used outside developers to put together similar apps, Markey's app was designed in-house by a team that includes lead software architect Isaac Hands and senior software developer Chaney Blu.
Eric Durbin, director of the Cancer Research Informatics Shared Resource Facility at Markey, says it was important for UK to develop this project in-house.
"It was essential for us to have complete control over the application ourselves," Durbin said. "That way, we can introduce new features for our users as we receive feedback on what can help them help these patients."
Markey Associate Director for Clinical Translation, Dr. Susanne Arnold was one of the first physician-researchers to offer feedback on the app.
"Simplifying the search for clinical trials for busy clinicians and patients will help more people participate in clinical research trials designed to help improve their outcomes," Arnold said. "Apps like this one are critical to move cancer treatment into the modern age, and I love the simplicity of this one -- it's very easy to use and very helpful."
The app is currently for iPhone users only, although Durbin says the next step will be gathering feedback to develop an Android version.