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July 09, 2013

By Gary A. Puckrein, PhD


July 08, 2013 | WASHINGTON D.C.

Contact: Stephanie Fischer 

(202) 835-3460 

The National Minority Quality Forum (The Forum) announces that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has joined The Forum’s collaboration with Microsoft to launch The National Clinical Trial Network (NCTN). PhRMA represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.

NCTN is designed to enhance participation and diversity in clinical trials. Once fully operational, the NCTN will provide a unique internet-based resource that connects patients, medical researchers, healthcare professionals, clinical trial sponsors, and related organizations (e.g. patient and community organizations, and research centers) as well as disease, patient and investigator registries into a national collaborative research network. This network will help engage diverse populations who share a common disease experience and may benefit from novel therapies to facilitate their active and timely participation to clinical trials.

Through NCTN, clinical trial sponsors can locate patients by geographical and demographic characteristics who meet a unique study protocol while simultaneously identifying points of care and community resources that can assist with site locations, investigator and patient recruitment. NCTN’s database allows for zip code level mapping of disease clusters, points of care, clinical sites and community resources. Embedded communications tools enable users to broadcast a message to the points of care serving a cluster or population of patients to determine patient or investigator interest in participation in a clinical trial in real time.

“The collaboration with PhRMA and Microsoft, innovators in medicine and technology, sets us on a course to solve one of the longstanding challenges in public health, the need for increased heterogeneity in clinical trials,” stated Gary Puckrein, Ph.D., President and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum. “Infrastructure and broader public-private partnerships will be needed to complete the journey, but the path forward is now clear. This joint effort helps lay the foundation for that future.”

“Biological diversity can be an important contributor to how people process and respond to a potential new medicine. This collaboration provides a unique platform to promote awareness and create connectivity that can translate into enhanced diversity in clinical trials. It brings clinical research and healthcare closer to each other to prevent disparities in the evaluation and access to innovative medicine,” stated Dr. Salvatore Alesci, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President of Scientific Affairs at PhRMA. “We are excited to be part of an initiative that can help transform the clinical trial ecosystem.”

The NCTN web portal will be maintained on Microsoft’s Azure, a cloud service which provides significant operational efficiencies for those seeking to recruit diverse populations into clinical trials. NCTN users will benefit from the consolidation of network administration tasks such as monitoring, performance tuning, software maintenance, and data backups. They will also have access to a vast collection of critical information without maintaining stand-alone repositories.

“NCTN complements ongoing efforts by PhRMA’s member companies to help ensure that a diverse patient population can benefit from potentially cutting-edge medicines and advance science by participating in clinical trials,” concluded Dr. Alesci.


About The Forum

The National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan, independent research and education organization. The vision of NMQF is a health services research, delivery and financing system that provides quality and effective health services to the biodiverse American general population of the 21st century. NMQF helps assure that national and local quality improvement initiatives are informed by scientific evidence, and place a priority on the quality of care and patient outcomes in all populations.