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Penn., N.J. Health Systems Form Clinical Research Consortium

April 17, 2018
by David Raths
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Goal is to speed up the clinical trial process

Six health systems in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have announced the founding of a nonprofit clinical research consortium – Partners in Innovation, Education, and Research (PIER Consortium) to streamline clinical trials.

The founding members of PIER Consortium include Atlantic Health System, Drexel University, Einstein Healthcare Network, Geisinger including AtlantiCare, Main Line Health and Thomas Jefferson University. 

Clinical trials have traditionally been offered at academic medical centers and through affiliated hospitals to ensure patients are treated safely and effectively with the best standard of care. Unfortunately for patients, this can mean traveling many miles, sometimes across the country, for novel treatment. The PIER Consortium will bring clinical trial sites to larger numbers of patients, while also bringing new treatments to market faster. 

The goal of having a broad network of physician-researchers is to speed up the clinical trial process and deliver effective therapies to patients sooner. “It can take decades to prove a medication or other treatment is safe and effective for a particular disease, which can be too late for many patients seeking treatment,” said David Whellan, M.D., senior associate provost for clinical research at Jefferson and chief operating officer of PIER, in a prepared statement.

An estimated 80 percent of clinical trials fail to finish on time. Having contracts in place and physicians identified could allow trials to both start and reach participation capacity more quickly. The expertise shared across sites through PIER will allow clinical researchers to enroll patients in trials more quickly and streamline the clinical trial process across institutions. This will create a more effective process for patients, trial sponsors, and researchers. 

“PIER offers turn-key solutions with one contract and a single Institutional Review Board (IRB),” Whellan added. “With physician champions at each site, start-up activities will be coordinated to help each site hit the ground running.”

 

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