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Multinational trials

September 27, 2022

Why Rapid Patient Recruitment is the Ticket to Successful Multinational Trials

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      Photo of Peter Gray

      Peter Gray

      Chairman of the Board

      Teckro

    When I started out in the clinical trials industry around three decades ago, globalization was just gaining momentum and multinational trials were a relatively new concept. Back then, trials were generally much less complex, but I have seen an enormous increase in terms of complexity since the 90s and it has been fascinating to observe.

    At that time, technology was little-used because the industry was very conservative and totally paper-based, though there were great predictions in the late 1990s/early 2000s of how technology would transform the industry. However, it took the urgency of COVID-19 some two decades later to really push the industry and the regulators to accept and embrace technology. While most trials conducted in the past were for small molecules, these days biologics are dominant, particularly in oncology and rare diseases. Both therapy areas are especially complex, which requires a much more creative and flexible approach.

    Seeking the Holy Grail of Clinical Research

    Multinational trials give greater access to patient populations, meaning a greater impact on human health and innovation. Rapid, GCP-compliant recruitment of appropriate clinical trial patients is the holy grail of clinical research and is what initially drove globalization.

    The rise of “personalized medicine” – or more accurately the more precise identification of disease sub-types – has led to more orphan diseases being identified and developed. While fewer patients may be required to establish efficacy, smaller numbers of actual patients necessitate spreading the search for relevant patients wider. Finding ways to have more sites participate in trials, assisting them in being GCP compliant, and increasing access and diversity will help alleviate the challenges and costs of getting patients into trials.

    During my career I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world to see how trials operate. For example, about 15 years ago I visited a Soviet-era hospital in eastern Europe. As a legacy of the central planning from that era, the hospital specialized in one disease and all the patients with that disease in that region came to be treated. The net result was that a large number of trials were conducted simultaneously in that hospital. The image of the clinical study coordination center packed with hundreds of lever arch files of study documents for their many trials will forever stay in my mind! How could the site staff know for any given patient what trial was best suited to them, and what procedures were required on a given visit?

    But clinical trials in the West are also guided by paper-based instructions. One of Teckro’s early investors was once an investigator in the United States at a major East Coast academic research center, and he speaks with passion about how cumbersome paper is when trying to make the best decisions at the point of care.

    To him – and the rest of our investors – Teckro is a “no brainer” for busy physicians and research staff, making all relevant study information available literally at their fingertips in the moment they need it. Providing ways for more sites to participate easily in trials while eliminating sources of error means many different cultures will be able to embrace increasingly complex trials with ease. This is why I believe that Teckro is a great boon to the conduct of clinical research.

    A Seamless Experience Between Investigators and Patients

    I always go back to the point that investigators aren't participating in clinical trials for the sake of it. They're participating in clinical trials because they're treating patients and they want the very best for them, including access to potential new treatments.

    Investigators don't want to be rustling around in a lever arch file. They don't want to be going to their computer and looking up things and having the patient waiting for several minutes while they find an answer. But doing something quickly on their smartphone and getting the answer they need rapidly as the patient sits in front of them makes their lives easier, improves the patient experience, and makes the conduct of the trial seamless with what is the primary issue: the treatment of patients.

     

    Whether you are an investigator in eastern Europe, Asia or South America, you can take comfort that Teckro is your single source for study resources. It puts the protocol literally at your fingertips and gives you secure communication channels with study experts there to support you. We know there is a reluctance among doctors to take part in trials because they can be time consuming and stressful. While they may be geographically distributed, technology enables clinical research sites to come together in a network to support each other. This offers exciting opportunities to reach more sites in more geographies that perhaps wouldn’t previously have been willing or able to conduct research. This will ensure multinational trials can flourish in an era of ever-growing clinical trial complexity.

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