National Clinical Trials Network will Facilitate Research Recruitment in the US
A service linking medical researchers with physicians' practices, specialized care centers and other healthcare providers will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The initiative, called The National Clinical Trial Network (NCTN), is a collaboration between The National Health Index, a subsidiary of the National Minority Quality Forum, and Microsoft Corporation in an effort toward increasing participation and diversity of patients and healthy volunteers enrolled in clinical trials.
The system will allow communication between different providers whose patients might be eligible to participate in a clinical trial, and it will combine patient registries, bio-banks and community-level health statistics into a searchable, national archive, enabling rapid identification of representative of risk populations that are likely to benefit from a new therapy.
The NCTN will also maintain searchable profiles of clinical research institutions, experienced clinical investigators and prospective clinical researchers, providing background information on investigators, their practices and the communities they serve.
Michael Robinson, vice president of US Health and Life Sciences for Microsoft, described the project as “truly a 21st century healthcare venture [to] give the [medical] research community a vast array” of information and communications tools. "We fully expect NCTN to transform clinical research in the United States,” Robinson added.
The initiative was welcomed by US industry association the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
“PhRMA applauds partnership efforts such as the National Clinical Trial Network that seek to promote awareness and create connectivity that can translate into increased diversity among clinical trial participants,” commented vice president of scientific affairs Dr Salvatore Alesci.
The announcement comes after a survey of 2150 American households published in the January issue of ‘Clinical and Translational Science’ found that only 11% of adults and 5% of children had ever participated in medical research. ‘This equals about 20 million adult research participants, and about 3 million children,’ explained the study's lead author Matthew Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., an associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, suggesting the public awareness of opportunities is too low to meet the needs of enrollment. According to the report, only 64% 64% are aware of opportunities to participate in medical research, while only 12% of parents said they were aware of opportunities for their children to participate.
"Researchers and institutions need to spread the word more effectively, to help people know about research opportunities that are a good fit for them," says Davis. "When institutions reach out to communities to hear and understand their needs, and then respond with resources, ideas and opportunities, that's what we call engagement in research,’ he added.
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