Better Outcomes Seen in Cystic Fibrosis Trial Subjects

Study authors find that whites, privately insured patients more likely to participate in trials

FRIDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Cystic fibrosis patients who participate in clinical trials show less lung-function decline than non-participants, according to a study in the Jan. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Christopher H. Goss, M.D., of the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed 1992-1998 data from patients in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Registry. Of the 8,735 patients followed for the entire seven-year study period, 2,635 individuals (30.2%) were enrolled in at least one of 32 Institutional Review Board-approved clinical trials. Patients enrolled in clinical trials were more likely to be white (odds ratio 1.98) or have private insurance (OR 1.25).

Despite their worse clinical status at the start of the study, those involved in clinical trials had an average annual rate of decline in lung function of 1.33% per year, compared with 1.52% for non-participants.

"Are there barriers that patients who have government insurance face in regard to study participation? Is it merely a factor of convenience that patients seen more often in clinics participate in clinical trials?" the authors ask. "To continue to move the science of clinical research forward, one must continue... [to] ensure that all patients with cystic fibrosis have an opportunity to participate in clinical research."

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