Background: It is well-established that there is a need for more research into the cause and prevention of breast cancer. While many studies are done in cell lines and laboratory animals, translation of findings to women often falters due to perceived difficulty in recruiting women for research. The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation received a grant from the Avon Foundation to form the Love/Avon Army of Women (AOW): an online recruitment resource designed to partner women with the research community in an effort to accelerate breast cancer research.
Methods: The AOW was launched in 2008 with the goal of recruiting 1 million women interested in participating in breast cancer research. Researchers interested in having the AOW recruit for their studies submit a proposal to be reviewed by the AOW Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of nominees from AACR and NBCC. If a study is accepted, a mass e-mail describing the study procedures and inclusion/exclusion criteria is sent to the entire AOW database. Women sign up at www.armyofwomen.org to join the AOW. Women aren't committing to participating in a particular study, but agree to receive AOW e-mails about breast cancer research studies. If the individual is interested and qualifies for a study, she undergoes a secondary online screening and then her contact information is passed on to the principal investigator.
Results: Over 336,500 women have signed up, including survivors and healthy women, ranging from age 18 to 100, representing all 50 U.S. states and 49 countries. To date, the AOW has recruited for 34 studies, both regional and national, that vary from biomarker and circadian rhythm research to psychosocial and quality-of-life studies. With over 44,000 AOW members having participated in the research process, this method of recruitment has been found to be effective and efficient. The diversity of the AOW members has proved beneficial for many studies such as those needing to enroll African American women, women of varying sexual orientations, or young survivors.
Many studies were closed to enrollment within the first 48 hours after accruing all subjects while others were very quickly overenrolled by 5% to 10%. This overwhelming response has led many researchers to seek additional funding to increase their statistical significance and accommodate all eligible subjects.
Conclusions: The Love/Avon Army of Women is a novel resource for scientists to accelerate accrual, expand the number and diversity of their subject population and to obtain exactly the type of specimens they need when they need it. This new partnership between women and scientists can revolutionize research and accelerate efforts to eradicate breast cancer.
This talk is also presented as Poster A62.
Citation Information: Cancer Prev Res 2010;3(12 Suppl):PR-07.