OAKVILLE, Ontario — Each year millions of people choose to volunteer themselves into a clinical research study and give the gift of their participation to help advance medical science. Despite the altruistic acts of these dedicated volunteers, only 6 percent of clinical research studies are completed on time and 72 percent run over schedule by more than 30 days.
Brenda Ahenkorah, born to Ghanaian parents, has been very familiar with these unfortunate statistics in her many years working within the Medical Research and Development field including at the Hospital for Sick Children.
She made the informed decision to take her skills, experience and passions to found the Clinical Trial Referral Network (CTRN)—a Clinical Trial Education and Clinical Trial Patient Referral Service company dedicated to bridging the gap between Healthcare Researchers and the Healthcare Community.
“When I go to the pharmacy to get my prescriptions and see other people doing the same, I wonder if they know how important clinical research studies are and how they not only help to get great drugs on the market, but also help to improve our quality of life,” says Ahenkorah.
A published survey found that 85 percent of patients were unaware that participation in clinical research was even an option. Of these patients surveyed, 75 percent said that if participation in a clinical research study had been offered through their physician, they would have been receptive to the idea.
“This survey lacks the voice of the Black Community, because as a group, we tend not to trust those doing research for many reasons including our values and traditions, our lack of awareness of the benefits of clinical trials and also the history of unethical actions by researchers such as in the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment,” Ahenkorah noted.
With conditions such as Sickle Cell Anemia, Diabetes and Heart Disease affecting the Black Community, Ahenkorah sees an opportunity to reach out to physicians and their patients to “keep them in the loop” with innovative research happening within their specialty. She has plans to do this not only in the African Canadian Community, but for other ethnic groups within Canada.
A holder of an Honours degree in Biological Science from the University of Toronto, Ahenkorah says, “Unfortunately there is no or very limited communication between those doing research and those treating the patients in a format that is user-friendly, relevant and up-to-date.
In addition, physicians and their staff really don’t have the time and resources to actively search for innovative research happening within their specialty.” That is the dynamic Ahenkorah hopes to change.
With a vision to redefine clinical trial awareness, CTRN seeks to foster an efficient working relationship between, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device clients and the healthcare community.
The group of physicians and healthcare professionals, who are a part of this network, are in support of improving the future access of drugs and healthcare. Patients are informed of ongoing and recruiting clinical trials through their attending physician or medical attendant.
The company works exclusively and intimately with physicians at no cost, ensuring that the end result is better healthcare for patients. This also ensures no additional administrative time, no additional staff and no financial burden in order to inform patients of recruiting clinical trials.
For more information, visit the website www.ctrn-inc.com.