Integration, joint trials will speed approvals

The Australian government will attempt to better integrate clinical trials with e-health technologies, including patient records and data collection. And it's considering the development of a centralized web portal like to aid subject recruitment and public information.

The ideas are part of a sweeping overhaul plan developed by the Clinical Trials Action Group, commissioned by the government in 2009 to help retain and grow the $1-billion Australian business. The government indicated it would accept the recommendations.

The group also proposes a standardized ethics approval process and concurrent approvals for multi-site studies. In addition, the report recommends a nationalized standard for trial governance approvals.

Separately, in the U.S., a multi-center group of researchers proposes the concept of collaborative clinical trials--companies teaming and sharing trial costs to test drug candidates.

The concept could be used in situations where two companies want to test their blood pressure medications. It applies also to tests of therapy combinations in which each therapy targets a different pathway or mechanism, as might be used in cancer treatment.

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- see the collaborative trials release