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Michael J. Fox Foundation's online tool links volunteers with Parkinson's trials

06/12/2012 06:48 EDT | Updated 08/12/2012 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - Actor Michael J. Fox's Foundation for Parkinson's research has launched an online platform aimed at linking volunteers with patient trials in critical need of participants.

Fox Trial Finder (www.foxtrialfinder.org) is now up and running in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom, following an earlier launch in the United States and Australia, the foundation announced Tuesday.

The platform anonymously matches volunteers — both with and without the neurological disease — to trials most likely to need them. The goal is to increase the efficiency of enrolment and to help patients get involved in the discovery of new treatments.

Fox Trial Finder has more than 190 clinical trials in its system, including 18 specifically in Canada. Almost 7,000 volunteers have already registered.

The database includes both studies designed to test potential new drugs and those intended to contribute to overall understanding of Parkinson's disease.

Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, said the online trial finder "sends the Parkinson's community an invaluable message: 'There's something you can do.'

"Participating in research makes you an agent of change," the Canadian-born actor said in a release. "Fox Trial Finder is a practical tool to help you get started. That's a message we hope everyone affected by Parkinson's will receive loud and clear."

Foundation CEO Todd Sherer said the platform's matching capability makes it easier to find the right trial for volunteers.

"The tool instantaneously sorts through scores of trials to find the ones that specifically need you," he said. "And once you save a profile, Fox Trial Finder will continually alert you to your best matches as new trials launch, without your having to come back to the site to search again."

Fox Trial Finder is also a resource for research co-ordinators seeking volunteers for their trials. Co-ordinators can review de-identified profiles of eligible volunteers in their area, then contact them through a built-in message system.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is the world's largest private funder of Parkinson's research and is dedicated to finding a cure for the disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition.

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