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Online tool to boost research recruitment

by Mary Helen Yarborough
Public Relations
A new clinical trials resource tool being launched in mid-November will help MUSC researchers enhance public awareness of their studies and boost the potential for recruiting participants.
The Web-based Clinical Trials Registry will operate out of the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research (SCTR) Institute and will be available to all MUSC researchers whose studies have been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
“This large-scale, MUSC-wide initiative is to provide our researchers a resource to promote human subject recruitment in a collaborative effort,” said Teresa Kelechi, Ph.D., R.N., an associate professor in the College of Nursing and director of recruitment for SCTR.
SCTR is partnering with the IRB, which will provide approved studies for potential listing.
“Through a partnership with the IRB, this registry will include up-to-date information. The registry database will receive automatic updates from the IRB if there are any changes in the status of a study,” said Stephanie Gentilin, lead regulatory coordinator for SCTR.
Patterned after a similar listing program at Vanderbilt University, the SCTR/MUSC registry will categorize study listings according to search term, i.e. allergy, heart, depression; which could be accessed through Google searches. The public will also be able to search by a researcher’s name.
The listing will not be automatic. Researchers must elect to have their listings posted and provide a lay summary and search terms required to maximize response.
“Most of the information will be self-populating. All the researcher will be asked to do is type in the lay summary, choose applicable key words, and indicate who should be contacted to learn more about the study. Once the investigator hits ‘upload,’ the posting is virtually immediate,” Gentilin said. “Though the studies must be IRB-approved before they can be listed, the wording about the studies in the registry is not subject to IRB approval.”
To attract the maximum number of searches, researchers will provide key words that would apply to the study.
“The researchers must choose key terms for searches, because the Web-based registry will be searchable by key word, which also will be Google searchable,” said Gentilin. “They should choose as many key terms as applicable, since their study could be accessed from any number of search terms in the registry.”
Once a key word is chosen, a study or a list of studies and researcher contact information will appear. These studies will be summarized in the concise, simple language that the investigator chose, Gentilin said.
“The challenge will be getting these studies summarized to about three lines in language that is geared to the lay person,” she said. “This information also could be sought by private medical practitioners who would be looking for clinical trials in which some of their patients could participate.”
Researchers will be provided information on how to access their study in the registry by logging in with their net ID. There they will be able to upload, revise or delete information for their listing.
SCTR also will not automatically delete the listings based on a project’s anticipated end-date, “because we don’t want to prematurely take down an announcement,” Kelechi explained.
Having undergone a successful month-long beta test, the registry will have its own, publicly accessible Web site (to be announced in November), and will also be accessible through a link at, or the MUSC webpages.
The site also will provide a link to national clinical trials offered through the National Institutes of Health ( as well as the clinical trials currently being offered through the Hollings Cancer Center.
For information, contact the SCTR Success Center, Research Support Services, 792-8300; or e-mail


Nov. 7, 2008

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