Ran Frenkel, RPh, Vice President, International Business Development at Clinipace Worldwide, was recently elected to the 2012-2013 Investigator Initiated Sponsored Research Association (IISRA) Board of Directors where he will serve as the organization’s vice president. Ran shares with us some tips for choosing clinical trial sites.

1. Patients
Select an investigator with direct access to the specific types of patients needed for your trial. Since certain therapeutic area patient inclusion and exclusion criteria can be limiting, this is of the utmost importance.

2. Infrastructure
It’s important that every site have the appropriate infrastructure to support the study. Depending on the study design, this could mean many different things.

3. Staff
Finding investigators where the staff is engaged in the clinical research process and are well-educated on good clinical practices (GCP) makes a big difference in how well the study is run. It will also aid in getting patients enrolled if the staff believe in the benefits of clinical research.

4. Relationships
Consider how you’ll be treating study participants and what testing may need to be done throughout the course of the study. If you know you’ll need tissue samples, find an investigator with access to a credible pathologist. A relationship with a respected radiology department is essential for many types of trials in order to achieve timely and consistent evaluations. And, most importantly, a team environment between the investigators’ research nurses and coordinators always yields the most successful sites.

5. Location, Location, Location
Geography plays a key role in investigator selection. If you need tissue samples to be processed within 48 hours from when they are collected, considering airline and/or courier schedules will be critical to the study design. If your sites can’t get necessary specimens delivered within that window of time, it doesn’t matter if they have the best staff or most appropriate patient population. It’s also important to consider competition for patients – if there are numerous studies recruiting patients with a rare diagnosis from the same investigator site, it’s probably best to consider other investigators.