Web Tool Connects Trial Teams with Volunteers to Speed Recruitment

As anyone involved in clinical research knows, the process of bringing new drugs to market is a risky one that demands tremendous resources — in terms of intellect, capital and time. Here at BayBio, we want to highlight innovative programs that will help accelerate the development of new treatments.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) is working to speed progress at every stage of the drug development process, leveraging the investments of government and industry funders. In clinical trials one key barrier to that progress is clinical trial recruitment, with as many as 80 percent of trials requiring a longer-than-planned recruitment period. Recruitment delays significantly increase costs for industry and slows progress toward critical breakthroughs.

In July, MJFF launched the beta version of Fox Trial Finder ( to address head on the recruitment challenges faced by Parkinson’s disease clinical trials. A smart and simple Web-based solution, Fox Trial Finder aims to connect willing volunteers with the Parkinson’s disease (PD) clinical trials that urgently need them.

BayBio will highlight innovative approaches like Fox Trial Finder at CALBIO2012 in March. Our intention is to increase interactions between disease foundations and life sciences companies to accelerate and advance the development of new treatments.

MJFF is optimistic that Fox Trial Finder will bring more volunteers into PD trials across the United States — and eventually, internationally. “By streamlining the flow of participants into trials, Fox Trial Finder will play a role in reducing the length and cost of Parkinson’s clinical trials, helping bring new treatments to patients faster,” said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of MJFF. In addition, by tackling a common roadblock in clinical trials, the tool has the potential to help “de-risk” PD drug development for industry.

Using state-of-the-art technology, Fox Trial Finder compares each volunteer’s specific information — such as location and medical history — with trial eligibility requirements. The site then provides a list of nearby studies that are potential trail matches for that volunteer. The service is available to people who have Parkinson’s, but also to those who do not, because trials need both patients and controls. Along with personalized matching, Fox Trial Finder also fosters communication between volunteers and trial teams through in-site messaging functionality.

Additional Fox Trial Finder features include:

  • A secure messaging system connecting volunteers directly with trial coordinators (or vice versa) without revealing their identity
  • Contact information for trial coordinators so volunteers can contact a clinical site directly
  • Ongoing email alerts about new matches and messages from trial teams

For PD trial teams, Fox Trial Finder helps find volunteers who want to participate in research. The tool aims to increase a team’s access to people who have already indicated they want to get involved, suggest matches who meet the trial’s criteria, and allow teams to contact volunteers online to explore whether they should come in for a screening visit.

Both interventional trials testing new therapeutic approaches and observational studies that help scientists learn more about the nature of Parkinson’s are included in Fox Trial Finder, and study sites can be found across the country.

For more information, and to register a trial, visit For questions or support, contact

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

As the world’s largest private funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding over $260 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its personalized online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. Now through December 31, 2012, all new, returning and increased giving to The Michael J. Fox Foundation will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with the $50-million Brin Wojcicki Challenge, launched by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki.

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