At Lilly COI we spend plenty of time exploring the future of clinical trials. We continue to explore clinical trial matching, Internet-based studies, mobile health in trials, and other possibilities. Though we are excited by these possibilities, we also know that it will take some time for possibilities to fully morph into practicalities. Technologies need to improve, regulatory questions need to be answered, and clinical trial models need to evolve. Meanwhile, patients are in great need of an improved clinical trial experience today. We can’t ask patients to wait on a convergence of ideal conditions, especially when there are feasible improvements that we can make now.
Since Lilly COI’s inception, we’ve been fortunate to meet with many patients and caregivers, who generously took the time to share with us the knowledge and insights they’d gained through their efforts to find and participate in clinical trials.
When we’ve asked them to tell us about some of the biggest hurdles they’ve faced in finding and understanding clinical trials, many said they often came across information that was poorly organized and presented, or information that was incomplete, and lacking in the kinds of details that would truly be helpful to them in making a decision about participating.
At the heart of these challenges, is a past failure on the part of sponsors to fully understand what types of information are really most important to patients and how patients prefer to interact with and receive that information. It’s a multifacted issue, that will require a number of different approaches to address.
We’ve been thinking through several different possible approaches through our work here at Lilly COI. For example, we’ve encouraged innovation in patient and Health IT communities through challenges. We’ve continually worked on ways to enhance our API, which allows developers to work with data from ClinicalTrials.gov more easily. And, we’ve thought about ways we can improve the type of information we’re providing about our studies on ClinicalTrials.gov.
The Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference has been around for a little more than two decades, and has focus on strategic relationships within the pharma industry. It’s been a place where Pharma companies, contract research organizations (CROs), suppliers and other vendors could come together to exchange knowledge, share the latest information on new products and services, and form business partnerships.
While this year’s conference was still very much industry-focused, there’s a welcomed expansion in the industry’s definition of “partner.” This year, additional patient advocates and clinical investigators were woven throughout the conference presentations and workshops, giving attendees a much more well-rounded view of the industry as a whole and helping us to better see where we may be falling short and how we can improve.
We felt that three of the most valuable discussions were centered around bringing clinical trials to patients, implementing patient-centered clinical trial design and partnering with other pharma companies to improve drug development.
The Partnerships in Clinicals Trials conference brings together more than 1,300 industry specialists for four days of high-level idea exchange and innovation. It has been around for 23 years now, and in that time, the industry has seen a lot of positive change; however, much more is needed.
This year, I had the opportunity to serve on the conference’s advisory panel, and I look forward to seeing how many presentations and workshops will be focused on new approaches and true innovation.
Here are just of few potential highlights: