Vice President, Site and Patient Access
August 2, 2016
There are more than 80,000 active clinical trials in the United States , all with the goal of testing new therapies and medicines to improve patient health and reduce the burden of illness. Through these clinical research trials, scientists and researchers will test the efficacy of new drugs, potentially discovering breakthroughs that may advance the knowledge of disease treatment.
Even with the number of clinical trials increasing exponentially, participation in such trials remains at an all-time low.
Tackling Clinical Trial Unawareness
At the heart of these low clinical trial participation rates, is a growing unawareness about their availability. Consider this: more than 85 percent of patients are unaware of clinical trials  at the time of diagnosis, according to a Harris Interactive Survey. Even more disparaging from the same study—75 percent of these patients said they would have been willing to enroll had they known it was possible.
It is therefore essential that patients and the healthcare community become engaged as partners in the drug and therapeutic development process. Because without the required clinical trial participants, new medicines and insights can’t be discovered.
This is the challenge INC Research and the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) – a non-profit industry group dedicated to raising the public profile of clinical research—are seeking to tackle through our crowdsolving “Ideathon,” a new style of event that involves rapidly solving a problem with a large group of people in an innovative and competitive style.
The “Inspiring Hope” Ideathon , to be held Sept. 27-28 in Boston, will bring together stakeholders from across the clinical research environment to share and develop ideas for increasing awareness of and participation in clinical trials.
How to Participate in the Clinical Trial “Ideathon”
Bringing great minds together is key to bridging this awareness gap in clinical trials. That is why representatives from 18 industry-leading organizations, such as DrugDev, EMD Serono, Medidata, and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. —are participating in this event—but many more are needed.
From now until August 8, INC Research and CISCRP are asking individuals, pharmaceutical companies, physicians, or anyone impacted by clinical trial research to submit #ideas4patients at inspiring-hope-ideathon.com. A panel of judges will evaluate the submissions based on the following criteria:
Finalists will collaborate live with a multifunctional team in a crowd-solving-type environment to further develop and ultimately present their solution to an expert judging panel at the Ideathon event this fall. A winner will be awarded $10,000 and will work with INC Research and CISCRP to turn the idea into a viable solution.
Becoming Agents for Change
Submitting an idea is not the only way to get involved at this year’s Ideathon.
The initiative is seeking mentors and sponsors  as well, to help bring these ideas to fruition. Like submitters, mentors play an integral role in providing the necessary support to make the Ideathon a success. The role of the mentors is to help participants with idea development by encouraging team conversation, facilitating decision-making and providing constructive feedback to build on a team's idea, while sponsors have signed on for a financial commitment to support travel and accommodation for patients and non-profit patient advocacy groups attending the event.
And most importantly, amplifying the conversation through social media by using #ideas4patients is critical to reaching untapped stakeholders. Together we can shift the clinical trial paradigm and collaborate to advance the knowledge of disease, and ultimately, improve patient health.
For more information, visit https://www.inspiring-hope-ideathon.com
Clare Grace, PhD, is Vice President, Site and Patient Access, INC Research