Mark Shapiro is the Vice President of Clinical Development at Clinipace.

Study sponsors and CROs know to patient recruitment can be one of the primary areas in which most delays in clinical trials occur. Challenges with recruiting targeted patients can incur huge costs by delaying time to product approval, often decreasing the period of exclusivity post-launch. Slow enrollment can also lead to waning patient and site staff interest, increased staff turnover, and possible abandonment of a promising treatment.

The stakes are high to improve patient recruitment. According to Applied Clinical Trials, 86% of trials experience delays, and CenterWatch reports 81% of these delays reach one to six months in length with 5% of delays lasting even longer.News & Observer article

David Ranii of the News & Observer recently analyzed how several Triangle-based patient recruiting companies and CROs, including PRA Health Sciences, INC Research and Clinipace Worldwide, have begun to adopt innovative recruiting methods. In his article, David points out that,

“The stakes are high for these contract research organizations, or CROs – an industry that is centered in the Triangle and ranks among the area’s largest employers. The stakes are so high, in fact, that these companies have been adopting innovative recruitment methods – among other things, working with Big Data, social media and online patient communities – to boost their batting average and satisfy their customers.”

In our experience, improving patient recruitment in tandem with site start-up speeds the overall enrollment process and improves the overall trial timeline. As I shared in my discussion with David, the challenges with recruiting patients have helped drive the globalization of clinical trials.

“It can be easier to recruit patients in countries with socialized medicine because patients have fewer choices for treatment, making it easier to find them. In addition, certain diseases, such as lung cancer, can be more prevalent elsewhere. As fewer people smoke in the U.S., it has become harder to recruit those patients here. And yet, overseas, they still have higher rates of smoking and more lung cancer patients.”

You can read more about how sponsors and CROs are tackling recruitment challenges by integrating technology solutions, web-based tools, social and mobile media, and a global net for site selection in our eBook, Trends in Clinical Trial Site Selection and Patient Recruitment.

To read the News & Observer article in its entirety, click here.