Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Time to Re-think Clinical Trials?

The latest issue of Science has this interesting editorial on the inefficiencies of the current US clinical trial system. An excerpt:

The biomedical industry spends over $50 billion per year on research and development and produces some 20 new drugs. One reason for this disappointing output is the byzantine U.S. clinical trial system that requires large numbers of patients. Half of all trials are delayed, 80 to 90% of them because of a shortage of trial participants. Patient limitations also cause large and unpredicted expenses to pharmaceutical and biotech companies as they are forced to tread water. As the industry moves toward biologics and personalized medicine, this limitation will become even greater. A breakthrough in regulation is needed to create a system that does more with fewer patients.

The current clinical trial system in the United States is more than 50 years old. Its architecture was conceived when electronic manipulation of data was limited, slow, and expensive...