Study merges clinical research investigators data from three government databases

Complete Picture

The three primary U.S. government sources of data about clinical research investigators -- National Library of Medicine: ClinicalTrials.gov, FDA: Bioresearch Monitoring Information System (BMIS)and CMS: Open Payments (Sunshine Act) -- provide incomplete and inconsistent data not linked to data in the other databases. While the FDA is aware of the problems, researchers have used the databases to understand investigator demographics and activities.

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FDA steps up in regulating safety concerns

Data-Driven Progress

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a new objective for itself: “to become the international leader in medical device safety through better use of big data,” according to an article by Conor Hale in FiercePharma. The agency has made a commitment to quick device safety responses “using real-world data and active surveillance,” Hale explained.

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Psychedelic mushroom component could be used medicinally

Far Out!

Depending on who is administering it and how it is being used, psilocybin, the active compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms, could be reclassified from a drug with no known medical benefit to a drug with the properties of prescription sleeping pills. In a review to assess the safety and abuse of medically administered psilocybin, researchers at Johns Hopkins University made a case for doing just that, possibly opening up possibilities for the psychedelic drug to be used to treat depression and anxiety and help people stop smoking.

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Analyst says blockchain technology could help clinical trials

Blockchain Bonanza

Caron Dhillon, a health care analyst at Results Healthcare, believes that the use of blockchain technology could solve many of the challenges of the clinical trials process, according to an article in Outsourcing Pharma by Melissa Fassbender.

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Data firm ranks top wearables for clinical research

Litmus Health, a real-world data firm, has created a census of wearable devices for clinical research. The firm is profiling the body and wrist-worn hardware devices from more than 190 brands and manufacturers, according to an article by Conor Hale in FiercePharma.

The company recommends its 15 top devices based on a rubric that scores the transparency of data collection, battery life and aesthetic appeal for study participants. It also looks at factors such as how well it helps investigators to meet federal regulations for maintaining electronic records and audit trails. Litmus is planning to provide quarterly updates to the public report, with emphases on different types of sensors.

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Penn study gives hospitals bad marks

A recent study led by University of Pennsylvania nursing professor Linda Aiken has found that hospitals have improved somewhat from the findings of a landmark report from the Institute of Medicine 20 years ago that determined that thousands of patients die in hospitals each year from preventable medical errors. Still, according to a new issue of Health Affairs devoted to that topic, various studies show that hospitals have more work to do.

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New cloud-based Parexel technology provides better patient interactions

Meaningful Data

Leveraging its relationship with Microsoft to assist with drug development, Parexel has introduced the world to several new patient-centric solutions that utilize its Perceptive Cloud platform. The patient-centric solutions for drug development feature mobile and wearable tech to make access to data for better patient interactions during clinical research faster and better, the company explained.

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Digital health startups need to analyze stakeholders

Cracking the Code

While some forms of high technology succeed using a “move fast and break things” approach, digital health startups have to go deeper into the requirements of the industry to “truly transform healthcare,” according to an article by Paul Yock, a cardiologist, health technology innovator, professor of medicine and bioengineering and founder of the Byers Center for Biodesign at Stanford University. Dr. Yock, writing in Fast Company (www.fastcompany.com/90251795/why-do-digital-health-startups-keep-failing, said that money and buzz are not enough to be successful in healthcare, “a much more complex and regulated industry.”

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Veeva announces single app to manage clinical trial data

Cloud Tool

Veeva Systems Inc. -- a leader in cloud-based software for the global life sciences industry -- is offering a new cloud-based application that combines several of its tools. It includes coding, EDC, data cleaning and reporting. Enabling companies to manage clinical trials from build through execution, the new app is designed to achieve a complete and concurrent view of all clinical data within a trial, according to the company.

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FDA suggests heavy fines for not posting clinical trial results online

Transparency 101

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a draft guidance statement proposing heavy fines for pharmaceutical companies and clinical research organizations (CROs) that neglect to post clinical trial results online. According to the statement, the FDA wants to fine organizations that fail to register clinical trials or to report results on to the government database ClinicalTrials.gov as much as $10,000 per day.

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Data Cubed uses gaming technology to facilitate human interaction in clinical trials: Making a Game out of It

Basing its approach on popular computer games, Data Cubed has created a platform that could “increase patient engagement in clinical research,” according to an article by Melissa Fassbender in OutsourcingPharma.com. In 2016 when Data Cubed (D3) was founded, the company took advantage of several trends -- structured big data, mobile technologies, patient-centric care, and social networks, the article explained.

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Uninsured People and Clinical Trials

Both ethical and practical issues raise concerns

 How does an uninsured person’s participation in a clinical trial affect the outcome? Does the lack of affordability of healthcare give rise to untenable situations in choosing participants for clinical trials?

 These were some of the issues addressed by George Marzouka, MD, who wrote an article called “Ethical Concerns Arise in Clinical Trial Enrollment as Number of Uninsured and Underinsured Americans Skyrockets” in Medical Bag recently.

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Can virtual clinical trials be as good as the real thing?

New Reality

 While the drug testing is real, the recruitment, the screening and the venue are changing the way clinical trials are conducted, reported an article by Barbara Mandark in Undark and reprinted by Fast Company.

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Attacking Alzheimer’s: Human-on-a-chip model could lead to better treatments

Alzheimer’s is a “devastating memory-wasting disease that has continually seen failure after failure in the clinic,” according to an article by Ben Adams in Fierce Biotech. With no cure yet in sight, a medical technology company in Florida has taken a new approach to simulating a human with the condition.

Hesperos, an Orlando-based company that to characterize an individual’s biology with human-on-a-chip microfluidic systems, has garnered National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for Alzheimer’s “human-on-a-chip” trials. The company received a phase 1 grant from the National Institute on Aging in order to “realistically mimic the biology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and the effects of potential new therapies under realistic human physiological conditions,” NIH said.

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Theranos Dissolving: Health startup will pay off creditors from remaining cash and cease to exist

It looks like the end is near for a beleaguered Silicon Valley company. The move comes after a failed attempt by the company to sell itself, during which it reached out to more than 80 potential buyers through Jefferies Group.

Theranos, a blood-testing company embroiled in federal fraud charges against its founder and its COO, is formally dissolving, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. The company sent an e-mail to shareholders explaining its dissolution and plan to pay out its remaining cash to creditors. The e mail from Chief Executive David Taylor also explained, “Unfortunately, none of those leads to buyers has materialized into a transaction. We are now out of time.” The letter was published by the WSJ.

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Three AI companies take on metabolism and diseases related to aging

AI and Aging

Developing medicines to combat aging-related diseases will be the focus od three organizations in a joint venture, according to an article by Conor Hale in Fierce Biotech. Hale recently reported that Insilico, Juvenescence and the Buck Institute were forming an artificial intelligence (AI)-based venture to expedite drug discovery as it applies to metabolism and aging-related diseases. It seems that the bottom line is only part of the story.

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Market research study focuses on clinical trials

Global Growth

Clinical trials, research studies performed on humans, are designed to gain specific information about biomedical interventions such as vaccines, treatments and drugs in order to prove the safety and efficacy of the products.


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Tufts report cites complexities of clinical trials as source of delays and costs

Complex Clinical Trials

A recently completed analysis by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development cites rising protocol complexity as a key factors that negatively impacts clinical trial performance and efficiency, while driving up the cost of developing new pharmaceuticals, reported Melissa Fassbender in Outsourcing Pharma. The situation could get even worse.

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Gottlieb proposes plan to simplify FDA structure

Reorganizing FDA

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who became the 23rd Commissioner of the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) on May 11, 2017, is proposing “to flatten out FDA’s structure by having the Center directors report directly to him, instead of through a level of “directorates” between the commissioner and Center staff,” as reported by Jill Wechsle of Pharmaceutical Executive. The objective is “to give more authority to the agency’s six product regulatory Centers and to the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) and will ensure that the commissioner remains in close contact with the Center leadership,” according to Gottlieb in an email to FDA staff this week.


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Market surge creates opportunities and challenges

Biopharma in China

The sophistication of drug production in China has come a long way in a short time, offering both opportunities and challenges for Chinese and Western pharma and biotech companies, according to an article by Peter Young in Pharmaceutical Executive. In recent memory, China was “principally a low cost, low quality producer of pharmaceutical intermediates and fine chemicals,” according to Young, but the country cleaned up its manufacturing practices, developed more sophisticated medicines, conducted clinical trials, improved its regulatory system and developed “a more diversified, modern system of providing patient care.”

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