Global database matches patients to clinical trials


By Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin Staff
Monday, 10 July, 2017


New life-saving and pain medications could reach the market up to four years faster thanks to an Australian initiative to fast-track the clinical trial approval process.

Currently, clinical trials can be delayed up to eight years because drug companies do not have easy access to suitable patients. To help resolve this dilemma, Australian company Neoclinical has created Australia’s largest voluntary ‘matching database’ between patients and the 40,000 clinical trials that occur worldwide at any one time.

The registration service allows patients who want to be part of a clinical trial to find one that might be suitable for them.

“Every great medical advance in modern history has involved a clinical trial to prove a drug’s benefits before regulators allow patients access to it,” Neoclinical Managing Director and Oncology Specialist Registered Nurse Megan Guy said.

“However, patients are largely unaware these trials exist, and pharmaceutical companies don’t know how to access willing participants. Keeping these two groups apart can delay the approval of life-saving drugs by years.

“Neoclinical’s matching database allows patients to voluntarily register for clinical studies in areas that may be suitable for them.

“This has the potential to fast-track breakthrough drugs that could treat anything from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma to non-life-threatening chronic pain conditions.”

More than 60 clinical trials are currently underway in Australia for all kinds of pain from back and joint pain to cancer-related pain, but they need more than 56,000 patients worldwide before they can be completed.

After laboratory research and development, followed by clinical trials in mice, new drugs typically follow three phases in human clinical trials before regulatory approval.

Accelerating the approval process for human clinical trials provides an incentive for medical companies to invest in research and development.

It is estimated that pharmaceutical companies spend $1 billion to bring a new drug to market. Once a drug is patented, that company only has seven years’ rights over it, before other companies can copy it.

As a result, many new life-saving or pain-relieving drugs do not proceed past the development stage because clinical trials take too long.

Axsome Therapeutics is currently conducting a Phase 3 clinical trial that focuses on finding relief for pain for a condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS.

“There are so many people in Australia in constant pain and clinical trials are an essential part of the process to develop better ways to find relief,” Axsome Therapeutics Country Clinical Manager George Zafaris said. “We estimate it can take up to eight years to conduct clinical trials on humans.”

Patients can discover if they might be suitable for clinical trials at neoclinical.com.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/suthisak

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