MRN’s long term vision is to support the ability to run clinical trials fundamentally based in the community. A traditional site focused clinical trial model significantly reduces the numbers of patients available to participate in trials as their physicians are not taking part, whereas MRN’s community based model makes trials easier for patients to participate.
In community based trials patients can live considerable distances from their PI and have routine trial tasks carried out by local health teams on their doorstep, whether they are patients of the PI or not. The patient could be a hundred miles from their PI and, in most cases, may be 30 minutes travel away from a major hospital where they can get radiology and other complex tests carried out. Patients will be within a few minutes travel of physicians who can undertake basic safety assessments and all they need to do is open the door to nurses who can see the patient and conduct a number of procedures in their home.
Our experience demonstrates that when clinical trials are conducted using the traditional method, involving a high number of visits to the clinical site, a large burden is placed on the patient, often resulting in low recruitment. The complete virtual model, where there is little or no human-contact experiences similar recruitment challenges, especially in populations that do not have access to technology. Our Community Based Trial Model aims to optimize the amount of patient contact and use technology to ensure high-quality, real-time data and efficiency.
Such a model has challenges. MRN is dedicated to providing services that meet these challenges as the desire to run trials in patients’ homes grows. Technology will play a key role in community based trials, as it allows much of the assessments to be centralized even with the patient still sitting in their own living room – radiology read by central reading sites, central labs testing all the samples, tests run on portable equipment with central validation and calibration, easy communication between Physicians and nurses and patients, wearable bio sensors and more that we have not yet even imagined.
Community based trials will increasingly use Internet recruitment and other tools to open up trials to huge populations and explode recruitment whilst increasing retention, all the time maintaining standardized methods of assessments and measurement, while massively reducing costs. It is already possible to do so much of this – and the MRN is playing a key part.