Bringing Patient and Caregivers Voices to the Clinical Trial Chorus: A Report From the BMT CTN Patient and Caregiver Advocacy Task Force.

TitleBringing Patient and Caregivers Voices to the Clinical Trial Chorus: A Report From the BMT CTN Patient and Caregiver Advocacy Task Force.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsVasu, S, Holtan, SG, Shimamura, A, Burnworth, T, Whisenton, S, Adams, S, Nuechterlein, B, Mortier, N, Foster, J, DiFronzo, N, Horowitz, M, Rizzo, D, Foley, A
JournalTransplant Cell Ther
Date Published2022 Oct
KeywordsBone Marrow, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Caregivers, Clinical Trials as Topic, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Humans, Informed Consent

The Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN), funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute for more than 2 decades, is focused on improving the outcomes of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) and other cellular therapies. It answered critical questions about conditioning intensity, donor choice, graft-versus-host disease prevention and treatment, and relapse mitigation strategies in a manner made possible by an extensive network of centers that have enrolled more than 16,000 patients to more than 55 trials. Although the BMT CTN has engaged patients in a variety of ways since its establishment, there is a growing realization that increasing that engagement and including caregivers offers many additional benefits to patients and investigators alike. Bringing the voice of patients and caregivers to clinical trial design is likely to enhance trial participation and reduce barriers to recruitment/retention. Unless clinical trials are designed with unique considerations of patients who have socioeconomic and access challenges, these populations will remain under-represented in HCT trials with limited generalizability of results. The next main frontier in our field is patient and caregiver access to high-quality HCT facilities coupled with the opportunity to participate in relevant, meaningful clinical research. In 2021, the BMT CTN Executive Committee convened a Patient and Caregiver Advocacy Task Force with a diverse membership representing a variety of stakeholders. The charge to the Task Force was to provide achievable recommendations for incorporating patient input at all steps of clinical trial development from initial concept to dissemination of results. Four focus areas were identified: (1) patient and caregiver input in research portfolio; (2) patient engagement in informed consent, protocol development and trial conduct; (3) communication to patients about trial progress, primary outcomes and secondary analyses; and (4) increased awareness among patients who may be considering BMT or cell therapy about BMT CTN trials. Three specific initiatives were considered as high priority by the Task Force: Fostering patient and caregiver engagement in development of the research portfolio and protocols; Developing communication plans for ongoing studies; and Simplifying the process for informed consent to make it more patient friendly. The BMT CTN has established a patient and caregiver advocacy committee that is tasked with developing concrete steps to incorporate recommendations of the BMT CTN Task Force in its current and future work. The BMT CTN recognizes patient and caregivers are valuable partners whose voice will enhance the conduct of impactful trials in BMT and cell therapy.

Alternate JournalTransplant Cell Ther
PubMed ID36283516
PubMed Central IDPMC10008748
Grant ListUG1 HL109322 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States