Are You Ready for the Shifting Clinical Trial Landscape?

Melissa A. Holland, PharmD, MSCR, Campbell University

Five years ago, your contract research organization (CRO) was focused on asthma drugs. Today, the emphasis is on cardio-related treatments. Where will it (and perhaps many other CROs) be five years into the future?

Finding the answer, or at least coming up with a good guess, is important for clinical trial professionals who want to improve their performance and enjoy a more varied career path, says Charles A. Carter, PharmD, MBA, an associate professor with the Department of Clinical Research in Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences.

Savvy clinical trial practitioners keeping one eye on doing an excellent job today, and the other eye on garnering the kind of expertise and skills that will advance their careers, should verse themselves in current and projected frontiers of therapeutic clinical trial research.

Some of the clues are relatively obvious. “Unmet medical needs will drive what sponsors fund,” Carter says.

However, there are other tactics to employ when trying to make an educated guess, says Melissa A. Holland, PharmD, MSCR, an assistant professor and vice chair for clinical research curriculum and education development at Campbell University. To begin with, she says, assess the business and financial aspects of current trends in drug discovery and development. “Identify barriers and opportunities associated with the clinical research prospects of emerging drugs,” she adds.

Carter and Holland will deliver an ACRP webinar on “Therapeutic Frontiers of Clinical Research” on July 25. “As part of our webinar, we’ll also summarize the major therapeutic areas with active clinical investigations,” Holland says.


FREE Webinar for ACRP Members: Therapeutic Frontiers of Clinical Research – Join Holland and Carter July 25 for a summary of the major therapeutic areas with active clinical investigation. These expert presenters will also address the barriers and opportunities associated with clinical research of emerging drugs. View Program Details

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Cancer treatments offer an interesting example of sponsor emphasis shift, says Carter. Where efforts were focused on prolonging life a few years ago, there’s been a shift in recent years to look for cancer cures as opposed to less ambitious treatment goals.

Specific treatment areas aside, it’s clear clinical trial complexity will continue to increase in the next few years, Carter adds. Ditto for complex protocol management. Further, globalization is a trend that’s only gaining traction.

By becoming better versed in the potential impacts these trends will have on how clinical trials are conducted, trial practitioners have a chance to be even more “proficient in their current job [and improve their odds] of getting” their dream job down the line, Carter says.

Author: Michael Causey