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CISN has been working with industry on effective programs and the development of materials since 2001. Our successful programs are built upon the expertise of CISN founder, Peggy Devine, and an expert network of advisers.

Our work includes:

  • Improving clinical trial accrual and retention.
  • Creating treatment options toolkits for cancer patients.
  • Developing other educational material.
  • Developing and conducting training for professional staff.


The Need: Many clinical trials struggle to quickly accrue and then retain cancer patients. These issues have tremendous financial ramifications for both industry and academia. Barriers in accrual impact trial sponsors and patients alike by delaying access to study interventions, knowledge of findings, translation of research results and sometimes wide spread availability of new treatments.

The Solution: CISN provides a number of services to the medical community around issues affecting clinical trials accrual and retention.



A. Developing Educational Materials About Clinical Trials

The Need: In today’s fast paced clinical practice, very little time is spent educating patients about clinical trials in general or the specific clinical trial they may be eligible for. During the informed consent or informed choice process, a complicated component involves the period of decisional conflict experienced by people faced with life or death decisions. Research studies indicate that decisional conflict involves emotional, physical, and cognitive overload.

The Solution: Patients require concise, clear patient focused educational materials designed to lesson the overload they are experiencing. It is our contention that if patients have a clear understanding of a clinical trial they are more likely to enroll. CISN develops patient-centered, study specific, educational materials included as part of the informed consent process. These may enhance patient literacy, improve patient satisfaction, and advance public trust in the research enterprise, all of which lead to increased accrual and retention. CISN educational materials also cover the spectrum of learning styles to ensure broad understanding by readers.


  1. Consent forms with patient centered content and language
  2. Introductory letters about research studies with substance and heart from the patient’s perspective
  3. Patient centered brochures about clinical trials
  4. Tips sheets, fact sheets, and newsletters about clinical trials
  5. Color-coded flowcharts:
  6. a. Help patients understand their time and procedure commitment

    b. Serve as a study calendar

    c. Explain complicated information to newly diagnosed cancer patients

    d. Assist patients in clarifying differences between standard treatment and study treatment,
    as well as contrasting expectations through comparison flowcharts

  7. Clear charts comparing side effects of standard care and study treatments.

Personalized Medicine
Recently Diagnosed
Cancer 101
Latina Navigator Training
B. Training on Informed Consent for Health Care Professionals

The Need: Studies suggest most health care professionals that discuss clinical trials with patients have less than 6 hours of psychological training in how to work with people in shock and exacerbated by cognitive overload.

The Solution: CISN bridges that gap in our trainings addressing the psychology of cancer patients in the informed consent process. We cover effective communication strategies for health care professionals and learning styles of patients. A component of high quality care for cancer patients requires well trained staff in these aspects of the informed consent process.

Our “Keys to Optimal Informed Consent for Health Care Professionals” training was developed in collaboration with two PhD clinical psychologists with expertise in education, training staff and the cancer experience. This class p rovides training to health care professionals consenting cancer patients into clinical trials and covers the psychology of cancer patients, communication strategies, and learning styles. CME courses are available for large organizations and or small in-house trainings.

C. Organizing Peer Support

The Need: Cancer patients need support through the treatment process.

The Solution: The peer volunteer helps the study and the patients to comply better with study procedures. The peer volunteer must receive study-specific training and peer support training. The role of the peer volunteer is to make reminder calls to study participants about upcoming procedures and to provide support. Peer support will only be successful with cooperation of all members of the research team.

CISN will organize study specific programs for trial participants to be partnered with a study volunteer through peer volunteer training.




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