"You've got the big C. Cancer. A word that changes your life the moment you hear it."
So opened a novel TV, radio and newspaper ad campaign conducted in the greater Sacramento area this spring.
Primo "Lucky" Lara, associate professor of medicine, won a grant from the National
Cancer Institute and five major pharmaceutical companies last year to design and test the campaign
as a way to increase awareness of and participation in cancer clinical trials. The UC
Davis Health System helped underwrite the cost.
Only 3 percent of adult cancer patients nationally participate in clinical trials, the rigorous scientific
studies that determine whether a new treatment is safe and effective. Such low participation rates prolong
drug development and delay patient access to potentially effective new agents.
Preliminary "Big C" results are encouraging: 760 people called the toll-free campaign hotline
or visited www.ucdaviscancerclinicaltrials.org.
E-visitors used the site's patient-friendly search tool more than 1,000 times to look up clinical trials
by cancer type. And 125 cancer patients who responded to the ad were referred to the Cancer
Center for possible participation in a clinical trial.
Lara is now at work comparing public awareness surveys he conducted before and after the campaign in
Sacramento and San Diego (which served as a control). If the campaign meets expectations, the NCI will
be able to use it throughout the nation..