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Frequently Asked Questions

About LCF

What does Lazarex Cancer Foundation do?
At Lazarex Cancer Foundation we improve the outcome of cancer care, giving hope, dignity and life to end stage cancer patients and the medically underserved by providing assistance with costs for FDA clinical trial participation, identification of clinical trial options, community outreach and education.

Why Lazarex? What Makes Us Unique?
Lazarex is the only 501(c)(3) public charity that does what we do. We focus on helping patients with all types of cancer, of all ages, from all walks of life. We remove the barriers to clinical trial participation for advanced stage patients seeking life through FDA clinical trials. We promote early stage diagnosis to increase survival, especially for the medically underserved. For these patients Lazarex is their last line of defense.

What is a public charity?
Our public charity status is what allows us to provide financial support directly to individuals. Without it, we cannot support our patients. Because Lazarex is a public charity we are dependent upon the community to raise our much needed funds. Only 33% of our annual income can come from one source. The rest must come from donors like you!

How long has Lazarex been a foundation?
Lazarex was founded in 2006 and helped their first patient in 2007.

What is Lazarex’s 501(c)(3) tax identification number?
Our identification number is 20-2562494.

What types of cancer does Lazarex help with?
Lazarex helps patients with any type of cancer diagnosis.

To whom does Lazarex provide assistance?
Lazarex assists advanced stage cancer patients of any age and ethnicity, with any type of cancer, nationwide who wish to find out about or participate in an FDA (Federal Drug Administration) clinical trial.

How is financial assistance requested?
Call 925-820-4517 Monday-Friday between 9AM-5PM pacific time. A Lazarex staff member will take the contact information and then send the patient or their advocate an application to complete and return.

How long will it take to be contacted by Lazarex to speak about financial assistance?
Within approximately one week after receiving the completed application for financial assistance (with expenses related to clinical trial participation) the Lazarex Patient Services Manager will contact the patient or their advocate to discuss what assistance can be provided.

Once the agreement of services with Lazarex is signed, reimbursements for expenses related to clinical trial participation may begin.

How did Lazarex get its name?
The name is part biblical reference to Lazarus (who was given another chance at life) and a nod the clinical trial drug Rexin G that was used to treat Mike Miller. Mike, and his family’s cancer experience, was the inspiration for Lazarex Cancer Foundation.

Assistance FAQ

How does a patient get help finding a clinical trial?
A Lazarex staff member will take the contact information and the patient or their advocate an application to complete and return to Lazarex. The Lazarex Patient Navigator will contact him/her to discuss clinical trial options. Call 925.820.4517 Monday – Friday, 9AM-5PM pacific time.

What is Clinical Trial Navigation?
If a patient is looking to participate in a clinical trial the Lazarex Patient Navigator will work with them or their advocate to help identify potential clinical trial options. Clinical trial choices are based on many factors including diagnosis, treatment history, physical condition and home situation.

What phases of clinical trials will Lazarex reimburse?
Lazarex will reimburse participation expenses for any phase therapeutic clinical trial.

Does the patient need to be under a certain income level in order to receive assistance from Lazarex at this time?
Not for assistance with clinical trial navigation. Income questions and guidelines are part of the application for financial assistance.

Does the patient need to be a United States citizen to receive financial assistance and/or clinical trial navigation through Lazarex?
No, a patient does not need to be United States citizen but the clinical trial he/she is participating in, or may choose to participate in, must be an FDA sponsored clinical trial held at a site in the United States.

What expenses are reimbursed by Lazarex during FDA clinical trial participation?
Lazarex can help pay for the following expenses related to clinical trial participation:

  • Transportation (economy airfare, gas, rental cars, taxi fare, parking/tolls)
  • Lodging (housing during clinical trial participation)
  • Certain medical expenses not covered by insurance and necessary for clinical trial treatment (Scans, x-rays and blood work above what your insurance covers, reviewed on an individual case by case basis.)

Meals or other incidental expenses are not reimbursed by Lazarex.

Will Lazarex pay for a companion to travel with the patient to the clinical trial?
Yes, Lazarex will cover the same expenses for a companion, however only one hotel room is allowed to submit for reimbursement.

Will Lazarex cover holistic treatments?
At this time we are only covering the direct expenses for clinical trial participation. Lazarex will not cover holistic treatments, including, and not exclusive to, massage, nutritional supplements, acupuncture, acupressure, biofeedback or yoga classes.

Will Lazarex help make travel and lodging arrangements?
Patients receiving financial assistance from Lazarex may receive help making travel and lodging arrangements on a case by case basis.

What types of lodging are covered?
Lazarex will cover economy range hotels (Examples including but not limited to Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn, Residence Inn, and Hampton Inn).

Is there a financial limit for reimbursement?
Yes and that will be discussed at the time of approval.

Will Lazarex pay for other personal expenses?
Lazarex will only cover costs related to FDA clinical trials. Lazarex will not cover personal expenses including, but not limited to mortgage or rent, utility bills, car payments, school costs, childcare, food, caregiver expenses, prescription medicines, alternative treatments insurance payments, etc.

Will Lazarex help pay for standard chemotherapy or radiation treatment outside of a clinical trial?
No, Lazarex only reimburses certain expenses for treatments for patients enrolled in FDA clinical trials.

How are my receipts submitted for reimbursement?
Receipts may be emailed, faxed or mailed into the Lazarex office. Copies versus original receipts are requested.

When are receipts reimbursed?
Submitted travel logs and copies of receipts will be reimbursed on a monthly basis. Receipts received after 45 days from the date of the charge will not be reimbursed. Lazarex does not provide automatic deposits to bank accounts.

Does Lazarex pay for past expenses?
No. Once the agreement of services with Lazarex is signed, the patient may begin to collect receipts for reimbursement from the agreement date forward.

Clinical Trial FAQ

What is Clinical Trial Navigation?
If a patient is looking to participate in a clinical trial the Lazarex Patient Navigator will work with them or their advocate to help identify potential clinical trial options. Clinical trial choices are based on many factors including diagnosis, treatment history, physical condition and home situation.

Does Lazarex place patients in a clinical trial?
No. A Lazarex Patient Navigator will help research trials that the patient may currently be eligible for. The trial options are given to the patient or their advocate to discuss with their personal physician. The clinical trial staff responsible for patient enrollment will make the final decision about whether a patient is eligible to join the trial.

Does Lazarex offer clinical trials?
No. Lazarex is not a medical research company or a doctor’s office, nor does Lazarex dispense medical advice.

How quickly can a patient be placed into a trial?
Once a patient has discussed trial options with their physician, the next step would be to contact the institution hosting the trial. The Clinical Trial Coordinator at the institution will need to review the patient’s medical status to determine if the trial is a fit. Lazarex does not have any influence over whether a patient gets accepted into a clinical trial.

What choices are there regarding the location a patient will go to for a clinical trial?
FDA clinical trials often have multiple sites. The goal is to find a trial site as close to the patient as possible but at times the best options may be away from the area where they live.

What is a placebo?
An inactive substance used as a control in a clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of a medicinal drug.

If a patient enrolls in a clinical trial, might they receive a placebo versus the actual drug?
For practical and ethical reasons, cancer patients that participate in therapeutic clinical trials rarely receive placebos. Researchers assert that in trials for cancer, placebos are inappropriate and all participants should receive active treatment or at least the standard of care (common treatment) for their type of cancer.

What are the four “phases” of clinical trials?
Phase I: Researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of people (20–100) for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects.

Phase II: The drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people (several hundred) to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety.

Phase III: The drug or treatment is given to large groups of people (several hundred to a thousand) to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely.

Phase IV: Studies are done after the drug or treatment has been (FDA approved and) released to market to gather information on the drug’s effect in various populations and any side effects associated with long-term use (involves several thousand people).

What phases of clinical trials will Lazarex reimburse?
Lazarex will reimburse participation expenses for any phase therapeutic clinical trial.

Why are clinical trials so important?
They are the capstone of the drug development process and the vehicle our FDA uses to bring new drugs to market safely. Patient participation is critical to the successful completion of a trial. Clinical trials offer medical breakthrough opportunities available today to end stage cancer patients who have no other treatment options. Most often, health insurance doesn’t cover the prohibitive ancillary costs. Lazarex is the only safety net for these patients until we find a cure.

Why should people from every ethnicity participate in clinical trials?
Cancer doesn’t discriminate! As we learn more about cancer and how it interacts with our bodies and the drugs we are developing to fight it, researchers have discovered that a patient’s genetic makeup has a significant impact on the effectiveness of a drug. If we are to develop cures for everyone, we must have people from all segments of our population participating in clinical trials.

IMPACT FAQ

Despite a cancer patient’s desire to fight their disease, all too often, available treatments don’t work. For these patients, medical breakthroughs offered in clinical trials can be an alternative to hospice. However, there are too many obstacles preventing the majority of patients from accessing those breakthroughs … especially when they are emotionally, physically and financially exhausted.

More often than not, cancer clinical trials require patients to travel frequently to receive treatment, lab testing and other trial protocol. On average, patients must travel 544 miles RT to the trial site and the financial burden is on the patient to get there. Travel costs add up quickly for frequent airfare, hotel stays, parking, gas and/or tolls, and many patients can’t afford the compounding expenses. As a result, they are forced to choose between daily living expenses and pursuing hope in a clinical trial.

Why are clinical trials so important?
Clinical trials are essential to the development of new treatments and patient participation is crucial to the successful completion of a trial. However, dismally low participation has historically plagued the research industry; 11% of trials never enroll a single patient and 37% are grossly under-enrolled. This not only delays the approval of new drugs; it increases development costs and, most egregiously, prevents patients from taking advantage of medical breakthroughs. Only 6% of eligible patients participate in clinical trials and only 5% of those patients are racial or ethnic minorities. This prevents researchers from proving the safety, efficacy and value of new treatments for ALL cancer patients.

What is Lazarex Cancer Foundation and Lazarex CARE?
In 2006 Lazarex Cancer Foundation was created to remove key barriers keeping 94% of cancer patients from participating in clinical trials. A publicly funded 501(c)(3), Lazarex has served more than 4,000 patients over the past 13 years. Lazarex is focused on improving the outcome of cancer care for cancer patients and the medically underserved by finding FDA approved clinical trial options for which they may be eligible and providing financial help with travel costs for them and a companion so they can get to the clinical trial. Lazarex also facilitates community outreach and engagement.

What is IMPACT?
IMPACT (IMproving Patient Access to Cancer Clinical Trials) is an unprecedented reimbursement, outreach, and education program helping cancer patients learn about and access advanced treatment in clinical trials. It involves a revolutionary collaboration between Lazarex Cancer Foundation, industry (various biopharmaceutical companies), and the designated institutions where IMPACT is implemented.

When IMPACT offers reimbursements, studies show patients are able to choose to participate in clinical trials. Consequently, clinical trials see increased patient enrollment, more minority participation, and improved retention rates.  In addition to the benefits for individual patients, there is also a greater chance the trial will be successfully completed and, ultimately, treatments will be FDA approved more quickly. All this stands to benefit many more patients down the road.

IMPACT allows patients the freedom to choose hope over hospice.

How was IMPACT Developed?
While the Lazarex CARE program is noble, it is not sustainable. In 2013, Lazarex devised a plan to fix this problem permanently. Lazarex partnered with Massachusetts General Hospital and formed the Lazarex MGH Cancer Care Equity Program. The program improved patient participation by 29% and doubled minority participation in cancer clinical trials. With that success, Lazarex expanded and rebranded the initiative into IMPACT, a 3-year pilot program that will ultimately be rolled out to other Comprehensive/Cancer Centers nationwide. IMPACT launched in California in June 2018.

What is the goal of IMPACT?
The goal of IMPACT is to permanently fix the clinical trial recruitment system by shifting the financial burden of participation from the patient to the pharmaceutical companies who need patients to participate in order to get new drugs to market. This shift will allow ALL patients to have more access to cancer clinical trials when they need and want to participate, thus paving a path to more innovation in cancer therapies.

How exactly will the IMPACT program work?
The Lazarex IMPACT program is laser-focused on educating cancer patients about clinical trials as a treatment option and presenting the possibility for financial reimbursement. Cancer patients whose conditions have not improved via standard treatment will be counseled about clinical trial options. If they are eligible for a clinical trial happening at an IMPACT-designated institution, the patient can be reimbursed for their travel so they can participate in the clinical trial. IMPACT member community partners and oncology clinics will also be prompted to refer patients to the IMPACT program. If they are eligible for a clinical trial outside of an IMPACT-designated facility, LCF will provide the reimbursement through the Lazarex CARE program

In addition, IMPACT coordinates a community outreach effort called NeighborGood with other community organizations, advisors, health clinics and health fairs to raise awareness about topics across the cancer care continuum such as prevention, early diagnosis through screenings, clinical trial education, etc. all with the goal of improving patient health outcomes.

How is IMPACT different from the services currently being provided by LCF to clinical trial prospects and participants?
On a daily basis, LCF supports patients who come to them by helping the patients find a clinical trial and then providing reimbursement for travel costs associated with trial participation costs, no matter where those trials are happening in the United States.

IMPACT is a 3-year institutionally based, proof of concept program collecting data to make the case to industry (biopharmaceutical companies) that covering these out of pocket costs for trial participants will result in increased enrollment, retention, minority participation and more equitable access.

IMPACT expands upon the work of LCF through the addition of this hospital/institution-based program by proactively reaching out to patients who are currently engaged with the hospital/institution.

Why is IMPACT necessary in addition to the services currently provided by LCF?
Patients discover LCF’s navigation and reimbursement opportunities through a variety of ways: word of mouth, social media, or a medical counselor. For the past 13 years LCF has bridged this gap in cancer care and helped over 4,000 patients get to their clinical trial treatments. However, this noble undertaking does not solve the problem at its source. We need a sustainable solution at the industry level. IMPACT represents an innovative, proactive, patient-centered approach involving a collaboration between LCF, the institutions that treat patients, and the biopharmaceutical industry that conducts the clinical trials that produce life-saving new drugs.

How is IMPACT Funded?
IMPACT has been launched with the financial backing of the biopharmaceutical industry. Biopharmaceutical companies benefit when they have higher enrollment and greater patient diversity in their clinical trials, as do current and future patients, who benefit from groundbreaking, life-saving advances forged through clinical trials. New FDA guidance allowing for patient reimbursement in cancer clinical trials means industry can now help with those reimbursements. Industry realizes reimbursement creates equitable access for all patients, improves chances of the clinical trial’s successful completion, and ultimately improves health outcomes. Currently, IMPACT is funded through various grants. The IMPACT Founding Sponsor is Amgen.  A grant from Gilead is helping fund IMPACT’s outreach and education program called NeighborGood.

Who is eligible for reimbursement through IMPACT?
Patients whose income is up to seven times the federal poverty level qualify for reimbursement through IMPACT on a sliding scale.

Where does IMPACT exist?
IMPACT is currently launching at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Other university medical centers and other hospitals across the country are hoping to implement IMPACT. Lazarex Cancer Foundation is currently working to secure industry sponsors to enable the program to expand to those institutions and beyond.

Who administers IMPACT at the various locations/hospitals?
Each institution has a clinical trial coordinator who will serve as the liaison between the patient and Lazarex Cancer Foundation.

What is the plan and timeline for rolling out IMPACT across the country?
As soon as funding is secured, the program will expand. We have-additional sites in mind, based on areas that have the greatest need. We are currently focused on institutions in PA and are in preliminary conversations with several others.

As IMPACT grows. will LCF cut back on its ongoing support and services to clinical trial prospects and participants?
No. LCF will continue the work of finding clinical trials for patients and reimbursing them for travel costs associated with cancer clinical trials as long as patients come to them seeking help.

Could the monetary resources being used in this outreach effort be better utilized by financing direct. patient-by-patient medical treatments?
No. The issue that IMPACT is designed to address is how to more effectively identify more patients who could benefit from clinical trials and thus expand the clinical trial pipeline. This approach addresses a critical need: how to deliver the patients clinical trials need to have a better chance of succeeding. That helps more patients who otherwise have run out of medical options, it helps the entire clinical trial system and will result in more life-saving drugs being developed. We must make investments in new programs to change the system, take the financial burden off today’s patients who no longer benefit from standard treatments, and ultimately produce new drugs that will improve all patient outcomes.