Immuno-Oncology Studies: Optimizing Design, Recruitment and Execution

The rise of immunotherapy has been meteoric — there are now well more than 1,000 Purple DNA Strandimmuno-oncology (IO) trials ongoing according to clinicaltrials.gov. Finding and enrolling the appropriate patients for these potentially revolutionary treatments has presented a profound challenge, one that was recently covered in the aptly titled New York Times article: A Cancer Conundrum: Too Many Drug Trials, Too Few Patients. Another piece of the puzzle is clinical trial design, which can be especially elaborate when testing combination treatments in IO. Exacerbating these issues, IO trials are an increasingly competitive race to market. There is great value assigned to reducing development times and being the first drug approved within a class or for a specific indication.

This blog article discusses the current state of immuno-oncology studies, strategies for enhancing patient recruitment, the role of companion diagnostics and solutions for dealing with the complexity of IO combination studies. Continue reading

Charting a Regulatory Course for Diabetic Kidney Disease Treatment

As the diabetic epidemic grows, so does the prevalence of diabetic kidney disease (DKD), a frequent complication of both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease, and despite its global health burden and increased prevalence, no specific regulatory guidelines exist for developing drugs for diabetic renal disease.

Diabetic Kidney Disease Treatment Continue reading

Leveraging Real-World Patient Data to Support Recruitment in Diabetic Kidney Disease Studies

Practicing physicians frequently obtain laboratory assessments of kidney function in their routine management of patients with diabetes. Two tests that are commonly performed are the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and the urinary albumin toDiabetic Kidney Disease Studies creatinine ratio (ACR). Results of these tests are often used to determine patient eligibility for clinical trials of drugs to treat patients with diabetic kidney disease (DKD).

One challenge that drug developers and clinical trialists face is in choosing eGFR and ACR criteria that support the aims of the clinical study—without hindering recruitment.

To address this issue, researchers at Covance and LabCorp queried a LabCorp database of 329,841 diabetic patients to analyze real-world data. They wanted to understand the distribution of eGFR and ACR values among diabetic patients in the United States and assess how these laboratory parameters predicted renal disease progression.

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Maximizing Real-World Data: Impact of Cardiovascular Disease on Clinical Outcomes in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Current guidance on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) stresses the importance of considering Clinical Outcomes in RAcomorbidity when assessing disease activity and making clinical decisions.1 Comorbidities commonly associated with RA include cardiovascular disease (CVD), lung disease and malignancy.2

The complex relationship between RA and CVD comorbidities

The presence of CVD itself has been shown to increase the risk of death in RA patients by approximately 50%,3 and there is an emerging relationship between RA, CVD and the therapies used to treat them. Continue reading

Assessing Pharmacokinetics in Diabetic Patients with Impaired Renal Function

Pharmacokinetic (PK) data guide the safe and effective management of a drug Pharmacokinetics in Diabetic Patients with Impaired Renal Functiontreatment; however, with diabetic patients, PK studies can be especially challenging. Varying degrees of kidney disease in patients can affect the PK characteristics of the drug and the reliability of the study results.

From screening patients to determining doses, testing a drug for diabetic patients involves several important considerations.

The importance of early work

Even before a drug reaches the clinical stages, early work can help set the stage. Preclinical research is very important in identifying agents with activity in the diabetic spectrum, while studies in early toxicology provide valuable direction as to whether the risks are acceptable in the diabetic population.

Given that most diabetic drugs affect the kidneys, performing an early renal study on a model can determine if the drug has a future in the diabetic space and may help guide earlier go/no-go decisions ‒ before allocating additional resources to the efforts. Continue reading

Pop Quiz: What’s Your Patient Centricity IQ?

What issues do patients cite as barriers to clinical study participation? How far are they willing to travel to participate in a study and how much more willing are they to participate knowing that their physician is aware of the study?Patient Centricity Quiz

We asked these questions – and more – to group of 135,000 people who opted in to the LabCorp database to receive more information about Covance clinical studies. More than 2,500 responded to our survey, providing our team with unique insights to better understand the patient mindset and design more effective recruitment strategies.

Next, to see if our colleagues in the drug development industry could surmise our participants’ aggregate answers from this survey, we delivered a short pop quiz. Any attendees who stopped by our booth at the 2017 Drug Information Association annual meeting (DIA), had a chance to take the quiz and see how they fared. Continue reading

A Practical Business Approach to Data Management for Clinical Trial Efficiency

Today’s clinical trials have become more complex and expensive, pressuring pharmaceutical companies to further improve their clinical trial operations. Clinical trial data management is one area where both sponsors and contract research organizations (CROs) can uncover new efficiencies, increase cost-saving measures and better meet diverse operational reporting needs across the clinical development cycle.

In this blog we begin to examine the current issues with traditional electronic data capture systems and other current “big data” approaches that attempt to address complex operational reporting needs in this historically stagnant and underserved area. We also discuss the use of two distinct data repositories – an operational data warehouse and a clinical data warehouse – the Xcellerate® Clinical Data Hub as part of a new data model through the Xcellerate Informatics Suite to provide a significant technological advance in clinical trial operations. Continue reading

An Analytical Approach to Enhance Recruitment of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

No single blood test or physical finding alone can confirm the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, two tests that detect markers of inflammation are often ordered when RA is suspected: erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Other common tests include rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP antibodies.

RA Map

RA patients in the United States

While the test results are clearly valuable to the requesting physician to inform diagnostic decisions, sponsors can also leverage this information to support patient recruitment in an increasingly competitive space. We recently evaluated how de-identified patient data from these common tests run by LabCorp can support sponsors’ clinical trials in rheumatoid arthritis. Continue reading

Finding the Other 90%: Attracting Naïve Patients to RA Studies

A recent study by Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, based on a survey of 2,000 physicians and nurses primarily in the United States and Europe, found that 91% of physicians feel ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ comfortable discussing the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial with patients, but actually refer less than 0.2% of their patients into clinical trials.1 In conjunction, more than 80% of patients Attracting Naïve Patients to RA Clinical Studies say they are willing to participate in clinical research studies, but only around 10% actually do so.2 It is further reported that while 85% of patients are generally comfortable presenting any clinical research information they find to their doctor, only 17% have actually done so.3 And what of those patients that are interested in participating in a clinical study only to find they are ineligible? When queried on next steps after finding out he/she did not qualify, 36% stopped looking for a clinical research study to participate in.3 This latter fact is a staggering waste of potential when you consider that there are currently >130 planned or ongoing industry-sponsored Phase II-III rheumatoid arthritis (RA) studies to choose from (>210 when you consider any type of study sponsor).4
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Patient Centricity and the Role of the CRO

Biopharmaceutical companies both big and small have witnessed the shift toward patient-centric practices in the current healthcare landscape. As a result, many are now including or planning to incorporate the voice of the patient in their drug Patient Centricity and the Role of the CROdevelopment strategy.

How do clinical research organizations (CROs) respond and support this increasing focus on patient-centric practices? We recently spoke to Jonathan Zung, PhD, group president, clinical development and commercialization services at Covance to understand his view on the patient centricity imperative and how it impacts clinical development activities.
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