What other noteworthy particulars are associated with personalized medicine and how do they affect patient recruitment? (Part 4/4)


Trust The progress medicine has made in the last decades is fascinating, and the substantive discussion of the five medical experts on the subject of personalized medicine during the forum at the Cologne trade exhibition PerMediCon in June 2013 was very impressive.

However, after almost 2 hours of scientific discussions between the experts about the best approaches in research and development, a patient who had been suffering from multiple sclerosis for many years spoke up completely unexpectedly at the end of the forum. He was sitting in a wheelchair and had trouble speaking. He was impressed by the possibilities of personalized medicine, but expressed his desire for doctors to simply have more time for their patients in a deeply moving way.


Who - better than he - could have made the human dimension of the patient any clearer after the substantive debate over the seemingly endless possibilities of personalized medicine? Does a patient really consist merely of a gene sequence? How important are less measurable quantities such as fear and hope or self-motivation for someone whose illness has thrust him into a particularly emotional situation, perhaps the most difficult time of his life?

How important is the "value" of trust a patient puts in a therapy, a clinical trial, a doctor and his medical assistants for therapeutic success? How can this trust be engendered and strengthened? How much time does trust require?

If one applied this to the special area of patient recruitment for clinical trials, this could mean: informative and at the same time sensitive and respectful communications as well as the corresponding development of the necessary tools are very important for the patient to make the most informed decision about whether to participate in a clinical trial or not. We need highly sensitive communications in dealing with each patient and the doctors – that is the development of professional, customized tools involved in the given clinical study - precisely because the approach of personalized medicine requires genotype information, for example.

We should therefore not limit our view only to the factual and extremely exciting possibilities of personalized medicine, but also consider the human dimension of the patient in all matters - even in patient recruitment.