A new global industry coalition, that aims to dramatically increase access for all patient populations in clinical trials and research was launched today. The alliance of life sciences and healthcare organizations seeks to accelerate the broad adoption of patient-focused, decentralized clinical trials and research. The Decentralized Trials & Research Alliance (DTRA) plans to unite stakeholders, including healthcare companies, regulators, patient groups and research organizations, with a mission to make clinical trial participation widely accessible by advancing policies, research practices and new technologies in decentralized clinical research.

“The benefits of decentralized research methodologies have been apparent for some time, but adoption has been slow due to many factors including culture and the lack of a forum for stakeholders to collaborate”, said Amir Kalali, MD, life science executive, founder of several collaborative life science communities, and co-convenor of DTRA. “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations to adopt decentralized methodologies which have the potential to broadly accelerate drug development.”

Experts estimate that COVID-19 may set back non-pandemic clinical trials by several years due to prospective patients’ inability or reluctance to schedule visits at physical research locations. Decentralized approaches to conducting research facilitate participation by a more diverse patient population and could ease COVID-19-imposed difficulties for both patients and clinical investigators. Inclusion of representative patient populations in clinical trials by race, age, and geographic location has long been an operational challenge.  COVID-19 has amplified the disparities and inclusion biases that have become hurdles for potential trial participants. 

“Now is the time to share ideas and insights that will chart the future course of clinical trials, accelerating drug development and saving lives,” said Craig Lipset, DTRA co-convener, clinical innovation advisor, and a pioneer in decentralized trials. “We have a responsibility to advance the health of people with unmet medical needs, and by convening stakeholders we can remove remaining barriers to adopting new policies and practices that can impact patients today.”

“Equal access to clinical trials is the foundation of Stand Up To Cancer’s Health Equity Initiative and supports our mission to make every cancer patient a long-term survivor,” said Sung Poblete, CEO of Stand Up To Cancer. “SU2C and DTRA’s efforts are aligned in the goal of making it possible for any patient, anywhere, to access trials with convenience and safety, during the pandemic and beyond.”

DTRA Member organizations will provide expertise to identify and address gaps and needs and advance best practices through effective education and communication. Organizations interested in taking part can visit DTRA.org.

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