Cancer clinical trials are research studies that involve people, including new interventions like medicines and surgeries. There are thousands of trials available in the US and across the globe. Finding one that might be a good fit for you is not easy, and the best way may still be talking with your oncologist. However, even a very research engaged clinician may not know of every relevant trial, especially when you have a rare form of cancer.
The National Cancer Institute in the US provides basic information about clinical trials to help anyone understand what’s involved in taking part. They have also built a tool to help you find clinical trials. These NCI-supported trials are offered at locations across the United States and Canada, including the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD.
In addition to having a searchable site of their trials, NCI publishes an API, or application programming interface, which provides an easy way for one computer to ask another one for specific information from large, complex datasources. It has been on my list of things-to-do for a while to learn about these, and having to stay home over this past weekend gave me that chance. In brief I wrote a Python script that searches for trials in the NCI’s database that:
- list the male breast as an anatomic site
- are active
- are interventional in nature (as opposed to observational)
- have the primary purpose of treatment
- have had their status changed in the last 6 months, hoping that this finds trials that were recently activated, though it is not a guarantee (the best that I can do with the current data structure)
I will now run this search on a weekly basis, and post updates to a page here called NCI Clinical Trials under the Trials and Research tab at the top.
There is a ton more information in the database – I have kept the listing on my site here minimal, and if you are interested you can go look at the full listing on the NCI’s site via the link I provide. However, if you want more info here, let me know. One thing I wasn’t sure of was whether people would want to know where in the country a given trial is available. I could include for example city names or zip codes. Let me know via commons or on Twitter.