Possible solutions for optimising clinical trials
Clinical trials form an essential part of medical research, treatments and prevention. Investors and sponsors are looking for results and are keen to get their treatment on the market as soon as possible, in order to help patients worldwide.
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When conducting a clinical trial, there are many challenges which medical researchers face and finding the right patients to participate is one of the key difficulties. Patients need to meet many criteria, including not having previously suffered a variety of conditions and being prescribed the right treatment. Scientists also have to adapt to the changing symptoms of patients whose condition is progressing as they undergo trials. BBC presenter, Rachael Bland, recently revealed she is relying on clinical trials to treat her breast cancer.
Solutions being considered include making certain trials available to all patients with a particular condition. It is hoped this will target underrepresented groups and minority groups worldwide.
Companies and organisations investing in trials are looking for medical breakthroughs. Companies are using adaptive phase 1 studies to ensure a phased approach to clinical trials.
Scientists are also looking at designing smaller trials. These can succeed when comparing patients who receive treatment with those that don’t. Measuring the effects of individual organs in the two groups can also be an effective way to demonstrate change.
If safe to do so, participants may have their prescribed drugs suspended for the duration of the trial and comparisons can then be made to see how their existing treatment is affecting the trial results.
Another solution being considered is to not only treat textbook patients, but to include patients who are showing symptoms of a disease, but have not yet had a confirmed diagnosis.
Looking at how a disease can affect different people in different ways and understanding what works for each individual patient is essential in providing and planning treatment for their specific needs.
Discovering the causes of a patient’s symptoms and treating the side effects will help researchers predict how a person might react to treatment.
These approaches will help optimise results for all those involved including the patients, investors and medical researchers. Making medical trials more efficient and targeted will help develop new treatments, making them available to those who need them as quickly as possible.