New initiative announced for International Clinical Trials Day
20 May is International Clinical Trials Day, highlighting the importance of clinical trials research and commemorating the first recorded controlled clinical trial in history — the day Scottish physician James Lind began his study to find a treatment for scurvy in 1747.
By dividing 12 sailors into separate groups and testing the effect of providing different treatments to each group, Lind was able to provide evidence of the link between citrus fruit and preventing scurvy. He only had enough oranges and lemons to conduct the trial for six days, but by the end of that week those on citrus fruits were well enough to nurse the others.
In recognition of the importance of clinical trials, MTPConnect — the Australian Government’s Medical Technology, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical (MTP) Industry Growth Centre — is supporting ‘Clinical Trials: Impact & Quality’ (CT:IQ), a collaboration to ensure the effective and efficient promotion of clinical trials in Australia. A recipient of MTPConnect’s Project Fund Program, the CT:IQ initiative aligns with MTPConnect’s key sector priorities to ensure Australia maintains and even improves its current position as a leading clinical trial destination.
CT:IQ aims to develop and implement recommendations that will improve the impact, quality and efficiency of clinical trials, leading to more rapid, lower cost and higher quality evaluation of healthcare interventions in Australia. Consortium members include Bellberry, Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA), the National Health and Medical Research Clinical Trials Centre (NHMRC CTC) and The George Institute. ACTA will represent the interests of the clinical trial networks and will work collaboratively with CT:IQ to ensure that activities between the two organisations are complementary.
“International Clinical Trials Day provides us with an excellent opportunity to sit back and take stock of our unique capabilities and successes in Australia,” said Dr Sandhya Tewari, General Manager for International and Government at MTPConnect. “The number of clinical trials conducted in Australia is growing roughly by 5% per year, outpacing growth in the US, UK and even the global average.
“International Clinical Trials Day also provides the perfect opportunity for the sector to come together and look at areas for improvement. The CT:IQ project is a fantastic example of collaboration between the sector, working effectively to drive further growth and development, and secure Australia’s place as a preferred destination for clinical trials.”
The CT:IQ initiative was launched this week in conjunction with the ACTA 2018 National Tribute and Awards Ceremony, held at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Minister for Health Greg Hunt presented the winners of the ACTA Trial of the Year awards, recognising outstanding achievements in investigator-initiated clinical trials.
The 2018 Trial of the Year Award went to the Australian Placental Transfusion (APT) Trial, which is the largest ever randomised controlled trial of delayed placental cord-clamping for premature infants — one that will lead to significant improvements in premature infant health. The ACTA STInG Excellence in Trial Statistics Award was meanwhile won by a trial demonstrating that large doses of omega-3 fish oil, previously thought to protect premature babies against chronic lung disease, do not do so and may be counterproductive.
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