Opening Day at DIA Meeting: Two Clinical Trial Approaches Join Forces

by Dan McDonald

Hello from the 2022 DIA Global Annual Meeting. Not surprisingly, decentralized clinical trial approaches has the spotlight here. This includes:

  • Wearables and sensors for remote data collection
  • Mobile screening units
  • Home trial visits

Also in the spotlight at the DIA meeting is the rise of machines! OK, that was dramatic. Not so much machines, but the overwhelming presence of exhibitors and presentation themes focused around technology-based study solutions.

And why not? These clinical trial tools are exciting and focused on the future.

Current realities in clinical trials

When we speak with our clients and friends in the industry, they tell us that technological solutions, while important to the future, aren’t ready to scale just yet, or sponsor companies aren’t ready for them. Presenters speak in generalities about the adoption rates of many of the newer approaches and the return on investment seen. The evidence of success is a bit lacking, but we all know it will get there. It needs to get there.


As the world continues to re-open, so does the traditional clinical trials industry, and with it, the various traditional components that make over 95 percent of clinical trials tick. I’m referring to the nuts and bolts of research:

  • Sponsors
  • CROs
  • Sites
  • Specialty vendors
  • Patients
  • Trials spread across the globe
  • Logistics challenges
  • On-time study starts
  • Enrollment

These key components persist as the industry works to evolve into what it needs to be in the future.

DIA Meeting participants discuss challenges in today’s clinical trials

The sponsors and CROs I spoke with at the DIA Meeting are challenged in areas like enrollment and retention of patients in clinical trials for increasingly complex protocols, rare diseases, and oncology studies.

They are struggling with on-time study starts and getting the materials and ancillary supplies that sites need on time, across the globe.

They are struggling with getting messaging right. Specifically, timely and accurate translations, positioning, and design elements to drive effective messaging in the information they share with patients, both as traditional and digital materials.

I’m glad I’m here to meet with industry colleagues to discuss specific ways Imperial can help overcome these challenges.

The present meets the future

Two worlds are converging in our industry:

  • Current needs and the urgency that goes with them
  • The need to evolve because traditional ways won’t work in an increasingly sophisticated world

We will get there. The future is bright. Innovation in engagement and

FDA commissioner Robert Califf, M.D. speaks at the DIA Meeting opening session.

operations are driving our thinking, and that’s a good thing. Robert Califf, M.D., commissioner of the FDA, said it best during the opening session: “Hope is created through the combination of medicine, science, and human effort.”

There is a lot of hope for the future of drug development shared by the industry people who have come here to relate their experiences and capabilities. We are collaborating on innovative paths forward. This is a challenging and inspiring time.

Please take a look at my walkthrough video. I will have more from the DIA Meeting tomorrow.








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