Antimo, you are the CEO and Founder of Allyfe. Since you have been active in the field of clinical trials for quite a while, you must be familiar with the recurrent issue of patient recruitment ?
Yes indeed. I was just reading a recent article which indicates, yet again that recruitment for clinical trials continues to be a challenge, as patient recruitment is the single biggest cause of trial delays. Around 80% of trials fail to meet the initial enrollment target and timeline, and these delays can result in lost revenue of as much as US $8 million per day for drug developing companies. » (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7673977/. It is a major concern and a huge challenge for all clinical professionals.
Does that affect all types of clinical trials?
It does and it has for years, but it is even more acute for oncological clinical trials
Why is that?
Probably because clinical trials in oncology are highly specialized. Their eligibility criteria are extremely specific and thus selective. A very small number of patients are eligible and they are not easy to find.
How do clinical trials professionals find them then?
Oncology specialists often rely on a self-developed network of medical professionals, who deal with those patients on a regular basis, have a thorough knowledge of their condition and will refer those who could participate in these clinical trials. The selection is made by professionals, which is great, but it has its limits. I think clinical trials professionals are aware of the limits of that referral system, and also of the benefits of a digitalized prescreening tools (link to ProConsent page). It is just that they are scared that patients will just shop around and register for studies for which they do not qualify, creating artificial bottlenecks.
Do you disagree with them on that?
I do. I think that the best recruitment system combines a human approach, the essential doctor-patient relationship, with a digital tool which engages the patient and systematizes the selection.