HOPELINK.COM: Connects Patients with Trial Treatment
Aimed at linking patients with companies offering potentially life-saving clinical trials, Hopelink.com is a website with a philanthropic mission, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Started by a medical industry veteran who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Hopelink has received initial funding of $3 million to help patients locate and enroll in treatment trials. "I realized there's a real opportunity to meet the needs of patients, to provide information to make better decisions ... There's a business here. Companies are spending a lot of money recruiting patients for trials and they aren't being very effective," Hopelink founder Kathryn Tunstall explained, adding, "Biotech companies live funding to funding. If you can knock four months off a clinical trial, that's millions of dollars saved." For patients who have received a poor diagnosis, finding a clinical trial in which to participate can present a significant challenge, even with modern day resources like the Internet. Tunstall noted that even physicians aren't always aware of current experimental treatments, compounding the difficulty of the search. Her Web site serves to expedite the process, charging the medical drug and device corporations instead of patients. In addition, 20% of Hopelink's founders' stock is dedicated to a foundation, Web of Hope, to help finance companies conducting research on "orphan" drugs and devices and treatments for diseases that affect only a small population of patients, thereby improving their chances at becoming commercially available (Boudreau, 8/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.