A New Era of Accessible Clinical Trials
In 2005, International Clinical Trials Day was launched to commemorate the day when James Lind started what is considered the first randomized clinical trial on May 20, 1747. This laid the foundation for modern clinical research. In the nearly 275 years that followed, clinical research has continued to evolve.
For more than 60 years, however, the traditional clinical trial model has relied on a disparate network of independent investigator sites to find, enroll and recruit patients through a study to determine drug efficacy and safety. To participate, each of these sites must establish its own processes, people, and technologies to accommodate clinical trials, which creates a significant barrier to entry. As a result, less than three percent11 of all healthcare providers participate as clinical trial investigators.
Once up and running, this exclusive number of investigators has the ability to recruit patients for clinical trials. However, as you’d expect, these recruitment efforts tend to be limited to patients from their own practices or those who live in the vicinity. So, what happens if you’re not lucky enough to live near a research site?
Unfortunately, for more than 90% of patients2, it means you would be excluded from participating. This exclusion comes at a cost and has enormous consequences because we know that health research does not usually take place in deprived areas where the burden of disease is highest. So continuing with the status quo means that we’ll continue to exclude some of the neediest people and continue to put them at risk of the diseases that disproportionately affect them the most. We’re essentially delaying the development of life-saving medicines for tomorrow.
So what’s the solution? Well, today, thanks to the people working in clinical research we live in a world where we have the capability to reach anyone, anywhere, utilizing decentralized clinical trial techniques and more agile clinical trial designs. At this point, it’s become an ethical obligation to implement them. There are no excuses. Read more in our Chief Executive Officer, David Coman’s Insight Brief on “Decentralization: An Ethical Obligation.”
Looking behind the clinical trial curtain and indeed beyond the participants taking part, you’ll find the folks who make it all happen. From the nurses who assess the patients to the clinical researchers who help manage the study, from the community providers enabling continuity of care, to the researchers and analysts working on the data, and the technologists enabling more opportunities for patients to take part. That’s why International Clinical Trials Day is about the people in clinical research. True to our values as a company, we want to say thank our team and, indeed, all researchers and patients who participate in clinical trials for all that you do.
You help advance science and medicine in ways that improve the lives of people and communities throughout the world. Your resilience and commitment are both humbling and inspirational. Without participants, there would be no clinical trials but without the thousands of people who have chosen a career in clinical research, it would not be possible to give people the opportunity to participate and turn scientific discoveries into new medicines and vaccines.