By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - April 21, 2020
As physicians and scientists across the country are focusing on finding new treatments and developing a vaccine for COVID-19, there may be fears that research for other illnesses, including cancer, will be halted.
If you are on a clinical trial at Moffitt Cancer Center, you shouldn’t worry.
Moffitt has the largest clinical cancer research operation in Florida. Despite the pandemic, more than 200 trials are currently open, treating a variety of cancer types.
"While there have been reports that clinical trials are shutting down across the U.S., we have not seen a major disruption in our treatment trials at Moffitt."- Kristie Moffett, senior director of clinical research at Moffitt
“While there have been reports that clinical trials are shutting down across the U.S., we have not seen a major disruption in our treatment trials at Moffitt,” said Kristie Moffett, senior director of clinical research at Moffitt. “We are still enrolling new patients in trials, and patients already on trials are still receiving their investigational therapies.”
Only 15 treatment clinical trials have been suspended at Moffitt due to the pandemic. Moffett added that even though March was when Florida started seeing COVID-19 cases and health care organizations began to shift how they interact with patients; the cancer center accrued more patients to clinical trials than the previous month. “Our operations and procedures have changed quite a bit, but we have been able to rapidly adapt so that we can continue offering trials for our patients,” she said.
Patients on trials are treated in Moffitt’s Clinical Research Unit (CRU). Changes in procedures due to COVID-19 include limiting in-person interactions between patients and staff in the CRU during treatment. Physicians are also transitioning some patients to virtual visits, when possible, for follow-up care.
“The goal is to keep everyone safe while still providing access to much-needed care,” she said.