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Clinical Trials: Why They Matter and How to Make Them More Accessible

By The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society | February 21, 2024
Tile under microscope

Cancer treatments can be lifesaving. As an organization, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has invested more than $1.7 billion in blood cancer research since its inception in 1949—all with the hope that this research leads to scientific breakthroughs that improve and save lives. 

But to make sure this research leads to safe and innovative treatments, we have to thoroughly test it.  

Clinical trials are a critical part of this process, and help researchers determine what works the best. 


The background: 

Through clinical trials, researchers learn a lot about how a treatment affects patients: how effective it is, what side effects may show up, and more. From there, they can decide whether the new treatment needs more research and adjustment or whether it’s ready to be approved by the FDA, which makes it available to many more people. For patients whose cancer is aggressive, or whose treatments options haven’t been as successful as they’d like, clinical trials can offer new hope—and sometimes, a turnaround in their disease. 

Clinical trials are essential for advancing science. And better science leads to better care and outcomes for patients. 


The problem:  

Currently, too many cancer patients face barriers to enrolling in clinical trials. These obstacles might look like: 

  • Having to travel long distances for treatment or follow-up, which might require plane tickets, lodging, time off from work, and/or childcare  
  • Confusion about which services are covered by healthcare 
  • Needlessly complicated administrative processes to enroll 
  • Lack of coverage for out-of-network trials 

Ultimately, especially if they’re unaware of the resources available to help, only 5–8% of blood cancer patients enroll in clinical trials. And the percentages are even lower for certain underserved populations, including people of color, younger patients, older patients, and patients living in rural areas. Challenges like these not only prevent people from receiving lifesaving care but can also potentially hinder researchers’ ability to learn how therapies impact specific patient populations. 

When patients cannot access clinical trials, it doesn’t just impact them as individuals, it affects all of us—current patients, future patients, and science pioneers.  

We need change that makes it easier for patients to join and stay enrolled in trials. 


One solution: 

That said, there are policy solutions that can help all patients access clinical trials—and advance health equity on a larger scale. In many cases, these recommendations can also help doctors and insurers be more efficient—meaning fewer headaches for everyone involved.  

Join us for a free webinar to learn how you can help make clinical trials work—for all patients.  


When: Dec. 6, 2023, 12:00-1:00pm ET 
Who should attend: This webinar is for anyone who cares about making clinical trials more accessible and inclusive—including physicians, researchers, journalists, policymakers, advocates, and patients themselves. 
Speakers include
  • Bethany Lilly, Executive Director, Public Policy at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 
  • Leah Szumita, Director, Clinical Trial Support Center at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 
  • Alex Morin, Director at Manatt Health 
  • Rayne H. Rouce, MD, Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist and Associate Professor at Texas Children’s Hospital 


Take the first step toward wider access to clinical trials. Register today