Dr Bobby Green Discusses the Future of Clinical Trials

Bobby Green, MD, MSCE, senior vice president of clinical oncology at Flatiron Health discusses the future of clinical trials and how the software tool, OncoTrials, can be used to help match patients to trials.

What do clinical trials of the future look like? Is it using surrogate endpoints? Or some other change?

It’s a whole host of things. So, in the example of what’s called a pragmatic clinical trial, you can try to reflect real-world care in the design of an interventional trial, and instead of having traditional endpoints, like resist criteria which is a very rigid way of measuring whether a tumor responds; the goal is to come up with endpoints using real-world data that can effectively substitute from some of the more traditional endpoints that we often use and think about.

How is technology helping to get patients, especially those treated at community oncology practices, considered for clinical trials?

There are a number of ways that you can try to make recruitment better. One of the main approaches that we’ve taken is a software tool called OncoTrials. OncoTrials is almost like an electronic medical record, but not for doctors, but for research coordinators—the people who work in a practice trying to identify patients for trials. It helps them go through the incredibly large volume of patients who come into an oncology clinic a day. It’s a number that’s really too big to effectively look at and try to identify patients for trials, and to limit that list down to only the patients who you need to be looking at on that given day. It’s a tool that we found that has made research coordinators much more efficient and enabled them to find more patients for clinical trials. We do think, however, that there are multiple other ways that you can do this; a perfect example is in biomarker driven studies. So, typically patients who have unusual biomarkers are hard to identify for clinical trials. Why? The biomarker may be something that a Doc’s not familiar with and they may not even know that a clinical trial is open at their site or somewhere else. The information often gets buried in the chart and people don’t think about it. We think there’s a great opportunity in other ways to try to match more patients to clinical trials. But, we’re very early in the process, and when I say we, I mean the community in general.
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