University of Buffalo (UB) is on the move when it comes to clinical trials. What has been an incredibly fragmented and incomplete process, frustrating investigators and prospective study participants, becomes more integrated and seamless as the UB Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development have set up an online tool listing every active clinical trial throughout the university.

The Participate in Research Portal

UB has set up the Participate in Research portal, supporting the streamlining of study participation as the investigative site offers one central place for patients to go and learn more about ongoing trials, writes Barbara Branning of UBNow. Timothy F. Murphy, CTSI Director and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, UB reports, “When I speak to groups about clinical research at UB, the most common question I get is ‘Where can I find a list of clinical trials at UB? Well, we now finally have it.” It is a vast improvement on the previous “Study Information database,” reports Briana Getman, clinical recruitment coordinator at the CTSI who helped launch the portal.

Seamless Clinical Trials System Integration

The UB team is thinking holistically as they integrated the new clinical trials portal with the OnCore Clinical Trial Management system, a suite of software designed for clinical research operations and data management. Moving forward, each UB clinical trial is tracked by the system, enabling continuous updates of information back in the new portal, reports UBNow. In fact, other operational processes and efforts are tracked, such as financial information about studies, which helps the investigators, comments Kimberly Brunton, associate director of operations in the Clinical Research Office in the Jacobs School. Ms. Brunton was a project lead and undoubtedly has accumulated valuable knowledge concerning the integration of clinical trials technology in a major academic research center setting.

Real Time Tracking of Clinical Trials at UB

Presently, over 200 clinical trials are posted on the portal, reports Ms. Getman. As studies are completed or added, obviously the number changes but the new system is meant to be dynamic, reflecting real-time updates.

Importantly, the team at UB took the time to break down and convert medical language into more everyday “lay” language for the prospective clinical trial participants. This aligns exactly with TrialSite News’ mission: bring more real-time transparency to clinical trials with an emphasis on site and investigator and staff. A great move on UB’s part—making more relevant and consumption friendly information available for patients as well as investigators and research staff.

Competitive Differentiation

Major academic research centers often compete with each other and other commercial sites for industry sponsor business. The more that an institution can streamline and simplify the process for all involved the better. Hence, Murphy notes that the latest development at UB separates them from other institutions. Rather than just OnCore’s basic listings, UB took the extra steps to streamline and simplify—undoubtedly, others will follow.

There are many ways for users to find access to the portal. They have set up tabs, for example, on the Office for the Vice President for Research and Economic Development portal webpage—featuring subject areas that users can use to link to the portal to drill down into studies of interest.

Case Study: A Study Liking White Blood Cells and Bacterial Pneumonia

According to one investigator, Elsa Gou Ghanem, Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Jacobs School, her study linking white blood cells and bacterial pneumonia in the elderly has benefited from this new portal. Now they have more potential donors finding the study and expressing potential interest in participation—where before it was hit and miss. Since the new portal went live, they have 19 people who have contacted them for this study—six have enrolled.

Response

The new portal has had an average of 120 requests per month since it was launched in the spring of 2019. Getman reports the response from patients, medical professionals and investigators has been very good—and why not? “It is an easy and free way to exchange information,” reports Getman.

Contacts

Timothy F. Murphy, CTSI Director and SUNY Distinguished Professor, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, UB

Briana Getman, Clinical Recruitment Coordinator at the CTSI

Kimberly Brunton, Associate Director of Operations in the Clinical Research Office, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

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