Clinical trials closer to home thanks to teletrial pioneer patient Robyn Creighton
Lifelong volunteer and grandma to a tribe of little ladies, Airlie Beach resident Robyn Creighton, has paved the way for rural, regional and remote Australians to access clinical trials. Robyn was the first Queensland patient to participate in a teletrial pilot project aiming to deliver clinical trials via telemedicine to rural, regional and remote Australians, closer to home.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, Robyn tackled 6 months of chemotherapy followed by 5 weeks of radiation. She, with the support of her husband of 45 years, made multiple 7 hour round trips to Townsville to attend specialist appointments prior to commencing radiation which required her to stay in Townsville for the full 5 weeks.
During her treatment, Robyn was offered the opportunity to participate in the MonarchE clinical trial testing a new drug to restrict the growth of breast cancer cells being run in Townsville. However, the thought of having to frequently undertake 7 hour round trips while feeling so unwell was a significant barrier to her participation. With the help of her oncologists and an experienced local clinical trial nurse in Mackay, it was decided that the trial could be converted to a teletrial - to be conducted through the telemedicine network linking Mackay with the oncology research team in Townsville. After taking some time to consider her participation, Robyn thought of the benefits that new research might bring for the next generation of women and agreed to participate in the trial.
“I have five granddaughters and 10 great nieces; I did this for them. I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial to do so, it’s our responsibility to contribute for the next generations” she said.
Participating in the teletrial closer to home meant that Robyn did not miss out on spending her days chasing after her granddaughters, volunteering with the Country Women’s Association and raising money for cancer research with ESA Australia.
It is because of patients like Robyn, that not living in a major city is no longer a barrier to accessing cutting edge clinical trials.