UF participating in new recruitment registry for research studies

The University of Florida community who want to participate in research studies can now connect online

People within the University of Florida community who want to participate in research studies can now connect online with researchers nationwide by joining ResearchMatch.org.

ResearchMatch is a not-for-profit website that brings together researchers and people who want to learn more about research studies in a secure and convenient manner. UF is one of the 52 institutions participating in this easy-to-use, free and safe way for volunteers to connect with researchers studying a wide range of diseases.

ResearchMatch is the product of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Consortium, a national network of medical research institutions working together to improve how biomedical research is conducted across the country. The CTSA is led by the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health.

“This will be a great opportunity for people in the medical community to connect with resources and be matched with potential clinical trials that could help them or someone they know,” said Peter Stacpoole, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine and biochemistry and molecular biology, and the principal investigator of UF’s CTSA.

The site communicates to a broad audience because it reaches beyond just federally sponsored clinical trials, Stacpoole said.

ResearchMatch works by matching anyone residing in the United States interested in participating in a research trial with researchers who are approved to recruit potential research volunteers through the system.

After an individual has registered to volunteer, ResearchMatch’s security features ensure that personal information is protected until volunteers authorize the release of their contact information to a specific study that may be of interest to them. Volunteers are notified electronically that they are a possible match, and then they can decide whether to release their contact information.

“ResearchMatch offers a convenient solution to the complex, competitive and often costly participant recruitment system,” said Gordon Bernard, M.D., principal investigator of the Vanderbilt CTSA, which hosts the national registry. “NIH data indicates that 85 percent of trials don’t finish on time due to low patient participation, and 30 percent of trial sites fail to enroll even a single patient. We aim to help combat these challenges with ResearchMatch.”

For the first year of the project, only researchers affiliated with participating CTSA institutions may be eligible to utilize the recruitment tool, but plans exist to ensure the recruitment tool will be available beyond the CTSA by 2011.

Before researchers can effectively use the registry, a large number of volunteers will need to be a part of ResearchMatch. As such, researchers will not be given access to begin looking for potential study volunteers through ResearchMatch until approximately January 2010.