Industry embraces virtual clinical trial platforms

Site-less clinical trials promise to speed up drug development — but obstacles to in-home data collection abound.

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Nearly every major pharmaceutical company is now experimenting with decentralized trials that use the internet to recruit patients and smartphones and wearable devices to collect data. With an estimated three-quarters of the global public saying they’d be willing to take part in a clinical trial, but only a tiny fraction ever doing so, part of the idea is to make it easier for volunteers to engage with the clinical research enterprise —for example, if they live far away from medical research centres. Virtual trials also promise faster patient recruitment timelines, low-cost data collection and new outcome measurements. However, there are challenges to overcome, including privacy issues and the quality of data collected by self-reporting tools and wearable devices.

By: Elie Dolgin, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery


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