Last week during the 23rd Annual Research Appreciation Day (RAD), Dr. Robert Toto, Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, appeared as a keynote speaker to discuss a new strategy for patient recruitment in clinical trials. Dr. Toto has been involved in clinical and translational studies for more than 25 years.
“Clinical trials are the gold standard for testing drugs and are critically important in order to move the field of medicine forward,” Dr. Toto said in a recent news release. “But many clinical trials are not completed or fail to test the hypothesis because the investigators are unable to recruit patients.”
To address this matter, Dr. Toto suggested that patient recruitment could be done using a national network strategy. This would involve matching patients for trials and determining which patients meet the studies’ criteria. This national network is currently being developed and involves various research sites that will ultimately lead to a more meaningful and cost-effective method to recruit patients.
Clinical trial recruitment continues to be an ongoing issue for the drug development industry, as well as academic institutions engaging in funded clinical trials. Within the biotech space, 32% of total clinical trial costs are related to participant recruitment, and yet in spite of the time, money and resources spent by companies, clinical trials still run 25% over their deadline due to ineffective recruitment methods. Dr. Toto’s calls for a national network is a novel solution for replacing traditional, outmoded clinical trial recruitment methods that are increasingly ineffective. In a paper published on the NCBI database entitled, “Recruitment Challenges in Clinical Trials for Different Diseases and Conditions,” the researchers suggest that among the most effective approaches for successfully recruiting clinical trial participants is utilizing a strategy that leverages an intermediary who has both trust and authority within a patient population. This approach, together with an initiative to build a network, can yield improved clinical trial recruitment results.
The Research Appreciation Day is a traditional day that offers students and staff the opportunity to present their work while providing training for members of the community.
“For some of them it may be their first time presenting,” Dr. Toto said in the news release. “It also allows institutional faculty to get to know what others at the institution are working on so it provides an environment for collaboration to occur.”