(HealthDay News) — The Affordable Care Act may have enabled more privately insured patients to enroll in clinical trials for cancer treatments, according to a study published online July 20 in Clinical Cancer Research.

David Hong, M.D., deputy chair of investigational cancer therapeutics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues analyzed 2,404 patient referrals to the Clinical Center for Targeted Therapy at MD Anderson.

The researchers found that insurer approval rates rose from about 85 percent before the ACA to about 95 percent after it took effect. In addition, privately insured patients had fewer delays in receiving approval. The team also found that there were no significant changes in insurer approval rates or referral wait times for patients covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

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“Clinical trials are crucially important in helping get drugs to the patients [who] need them,” Hong said in a journal news release. “This study is one piece of evidence that the ACA is helping more patients get access to these trials.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

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