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Telethon Will Ask Patients to Join Studies


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http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/n ... udies.html


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PHILADELPHIA - When dozens of A-list celebrities hit the airwaves in prime time Friday for a star-studded telethon, they will be both raising money for cancer research and encouraging cancer patients to participate in clinical trials.

Proceeds of the Stand Up to Cancer telethon, airing simultaneously on ABC, NBC and CBS at 8 p.m., will fund research trials selected by a committee of scientists and patient advocates convened by a Philadelphia-based organization, the American Association for Cancer Research.

Fewer than 5 percent of people with cancer take part in clinical trials each year, while 75 percent say they would have participated in research if they had known it was an option, according to the association.

"It's a matter of educating people and letting them know they're not going to be given some placebo," said Dr. Raymond DuBois, AACR president. "There is a general apprehension in the public."

Eighty percent of clinical trials in the United States are delayed because researchers can't get enough patients to enroll, even though nearly 200,000 newly diagnosed patients may be eligible to participate each year, according to the association. People must meet criteria that including the stage and type of cancer and whether they've had prior treatment.

In cancer clinical trials, researchers are testing experimental treatments against current treatments. They are used to test combinations of drugs and therapies, hormonal therapies, targeted therapies and other options.

In addition to trials that test new treatments, some test new methods of prevention and screening and explore ways to improve the quality of life of cancer patients.

The fundraising began with a $10 million donation from Major League Baseball in May and could raise a total of $50 million to $100 million by the end of the telethon, Dubois said. Ninety percent of the money will go to selected trials submitted by individuals and research teams, while the other 10 percent will go into a research endowment.

But everything starts with awareness.

"The challenge is to make people aware. By people, it is both the patient and the health care provider," said Gwen Darien, a cancer survivor and director of the association's department of survivor and patient advocacy.

That's where the high-profile telethon comes in.

The effort will enlist more than 60 celebrities, including Meryl Streep, Salma Hayek, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Sheryl Crow, Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Garner. News anchors Katie Couric, Charles Gibson and Brian Williams also will appear on the special.

Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige and Rihanna will be among a group of singers debuting a single, "Just Stand Up," that will benefit cancer research.

Connie Mielich, who has been fighting cancer since 1972, decided to take part in a clinical study last year after she had a recurrence near her lung. Her decision came after other types of treatment were not working and she wanted to try something new.

"Traditional methods work for some people, others they don't," said Mielich, 57, of Tylersport, adding that she also hopes the research can help others down the road. "It might eventually be the cure."

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(Philly.com, "Telethon Will Ask Patients to Join Studies," Article by Patrick Walters, Associated Press, September 4, 2008)


The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not posted as medical advice of any kind.

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