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About the impact and potential of digital health on clinical trials.
It is no small feat to bring a new drug to market, averaging a cost of 2.7 billion USD over 12 years, but when diagnosed with a life-threatening or life-compromising condition, every second and every dollar counts. Incredible breakthroughs and life-saving treatments are made through the work of the pharma industry and its rigorous stream of Clinical Trials, testing, and ideation. After all those years and all those dollars, technology is now also playing a role in the clinical trial setting resulting in an uptick in speed and efficiency.
The purpose of clinical trials is indeed two fold and represents two groups of vested stakeholders - the pharma industry and the patients it serves. What they share is a common desire to eradicate disease and suffering. For patients, clinical trials can provide a hail mary opportunity to try new medical treatments when traditional approaches haven’t worked, especially when it comes to rare illnesses. At this very moment, there are some 47,412 clinical trials open and actively recruiting patients in the US. But yet, many trials go under enrolled. If trials need patients and patients need solutions, and they’re not finding each other, then we’re missing something. And as it turns out, Antidote is solving this precise problem. They are the crown jewel of matching patients to trials, surpassing even what the national registry is capable of with their impressive data structure based on inclusion vs. exclusion criteria otherwise known as patient eligibility.
Typically, clinical trials are structured so that after patients are vetted and enrolled, they are scheduled for intermittent clinical visits, where they relate their experiences - both verbally and biometrically - to a professional. It’s a fine model, but increasingly antiquated. The problem is that it doesn’t scale well and perhaps more critically, it misses critical information between appointments. The global population has swelled to an unsustainable 7.6 billion and with cancer not curing itself anytime soon, it’s time to rethink our approach.
If there is any industry ripe for innovation through automation, patient engagement, and remote monitoring, it’s clinical trials. The team at Kaiku, a Finnish company, are experts in symptom profiling through remote monitoring. With 70,000 patients on their platform across Europe and a new partnership with Bayer through the G4A Dealmaker program underway, they are planning a pilot study to improve patient experience in Oncology trials. “What we do is quite new to any hospital, to be able to give them a patient application, to enable patients to report on their symptoms, and their quality of life in their therapies and after them” says Jaakko Laukkanen of Kaiku. “So altogether that’s new, but our unique approach is to give them a platform that can be integrated into patient portals in hospitals and can be used across all therapeutic areas.” Kaiku is collecting real world data thus able to provide early interventions and personalized support for each enrolled patient.
Given the right technological support from folks like Antidote and Kaiku, the Clinical Trials space is looking at a huge opportunity to reach more patients and deliver new treatments. Whether through remote monitoring, matching patients to trials, adherence programs, automation enhancements, compliance tracking or beyond, technology is changing the game. At the end of the day though, it’s all for the patient - it’s about investing time and resources in new treatment solutions yesterday for a world free of disease tomorrow.