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Healthcare: More Vets in Clinical Trials

By / Aug 12, 2020 (Drazen Zigic/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

The Access to Clinical Trials for Veterans Initiative aims to increase veteran participation in clinical trials and help the Department of Veterans Affairs streamline trial startups.

Healthcare • National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations

Clinical trials offer innovative, life-saving medical care, but many veterans lack access to them. Less than 2 percent of clinical trials are offered at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals because of barriers that have stood in the way of pharmaceutical companies working efficiently with the VA system.

They give patients access to cutting-edge therapies that they might not otherwise have access to.

The National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations has been working with the VA to streamline processes and improve efficiency through its Access to Clinical Trials for Veterans Initiative. One objective is to help the VA cut its average clinical trial startup times by 100 days by 2021.

“Clinical trials are a key part of the national healthcare landscape, and they offer several opportunities,” says NAVREF CEO Rick Starrs. “They give patients access to cutting-edge therapies that they might not otherwise have access to. They give the clinicians and the investigators access to research and associated collaborative activities. And they help form those mutually beneficial partnerships between the VA and industry partners.”

Clinical trials may lead to the cure or treatment many veterans need for conditions such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis, COPD, chronic pain, cancer, and heart disease. In oncology, “clinical trials are very often the standard of care,” Starrs says.

As clinical trial startup times improve, NAVREF will shift focus to improving the recruitment and retention of veterans as enrollees in these trials.

Allison Torres Burtka

Allison Torres Burtka, a longtime association journalist, is a freelance writer and editor in West Bloomfield, Michigan. More »

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