In the fast-moving field of clinical trials, it can be challenging to keep up-to-date with the latest news, views, and changes. But with new regulation frequently appearing around the world and technological innovation changing the face of clinical research, it’s more vital than ever to stay ahead. So how can you do it? In this blog post, we look at some of the ways to track the rapidly changing clinical trials landscape at the global and national level.
There’s an overwhelming amount of information available online about everything, including clinical research. At the time of writing, a Google News search for ‘clinical trial’ yields 105,000 results. And so far this year, Google Scholar lists more than 19,000 academic articles mentioning ‘clinical trial’.
As well as being impossible to read all of that, it’s also undesirable. With misinformation rife, determining the reliability of what you read is more important than ever.
Fortunately, there are many ways to curate a stream of knowledge that keeps you informed, without too much effort. Here are five top tips for keeping up-to-date with what’s happening in the industry.
Tip 1: Decide what you need to know
Attempt to cover the widest ground by reading everything you can find on clinical trials will leave you short on time that’s better spent on more important work. To make sure your knowledge gathering is as efficient as possible, it’s a good idea to focus your efforts on the most important areas:
- Therapeutic area – if your clinical trial is for an intervention targeting an orphan indication in children, focusing on pediatric rare diseases can narrow down your search and save you time.
- Type of intervention – medical devices follow a different development path, and therefore bring different updates, to vaccines, for example.
- Geographic region – your trial may fall under different jurisdictions, such as the EU-wide Clinical Trials Regulation and any national regulations set by Member States. Focusing your time on the relevant geographic areas helps keep you out of the weeds.
While focusing your efforts on the most relevant areas is beneficial, it’s also important to maintain an understanding of the broader field. You can do this by shaping the information you encounter through the sources and people you follow.
Tip 2: Choose the top sources
It’s likely that you head to a handful of places for clinical trial news. It’s a good idea to curate this list carefully and include a range of source types, from events to academic journals.
- Industry publications – some of the top (online) magazines and platforms will give you the biggest stories first. Think about specialist publications like Clinical Leader, STAT, and Applied Clinical Trials Online, and broader ones, such as The Scientist, that you can search by topic.
- Conferences and webinars – conferences, such as BioFIT 2023, bring together top people and companies in the field to talk about cutting-edge developments. Webinars like this one from Applied Clinical Trials or this one from Clinical Leader – can give you a flexible way of diving deeper into a topic. Attending these events or following them on social media can give you regular updates.
- Journals – broad journals such as PLoS ONE and The Lancet often publish clinical trial-related studies. There are also specialist journals, such as Clinical Trials, Open Access Journal of Clinical Trials, BMC Trials, and Contemporary Clinical Trials.
- Regulators – it can be helpful to check in periodically with the relevant regulatory bodies, such as the EMA, FDA and MHRA, to get news from the source.
Tip 3: Follow the right people and join groups
Like in any field, the quality of the information you gather on clinical trials will depend on the people, companies and groups you turn to in order to gather it. Your colleagues and competitors are a great source of information, as are thought leaders in the field.
- Leading companies – from big pharma to small biotech companies in the field share news and views on their blogs and on social media. Following them can give you an idea of what they are focusing on.
- Thought leaders – CEOs of pioneering companies, regulatory body leaders, and senior leadership of international bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) can be reliable sources of information, and their views may reflect emerging trends in the industry.
- Social media – scrolling through the right content on social media can give you a broad view of the landscape. Consider who you follow and the groups you join. For example, there are groups on LinkedIn, such as the Clinical Trial Special Interest Group and Clinical Trial Recruitment that can be helpful.
Tip 4: Make the information come to you
Going to each of these sources on a regular basis is time-consuming. Instead, try to set up alerts that come to you when new content is published.
- Google News alerts – you can set up an email alert to tell you when new content appears on a Google News search. Make it more specific to focus the information and reduce the number of emails you receive.
- Journal eTOCs – most journals offer a table of contents alert service, through which you can receive a list of the new articles published on a weekly or monthly basis. These are easy to scan, and you can click through to articles for more information.
- Newsletters – regulatory bodies, organizations, and companies often provide newsletters with the latest updates. Like eTOC alerts, these are quick to scan and give you a periodic update.
Tip 5: Create a routine that works for you
Even getting information to come to you can leave you with a constant stream of things to read and digest. Once you’ve established the right topic areas, sources and people to follow, and you’ve set up a way to get their updates to come to you, you can further refine your information gathering by setting boundaries.
- Time that suits you – when is a good time for you to read updates? Perhaps when you’re on the train every day or once a week in a gap between meetings. Find the time that works for you and allocate it to gathering knowledge.
- Infrastructure – set up rules in your email to send all your reading material to a folder you can check when it suits you, rather than letting it clog up your inbox.
- Avoid getting lost in the information – it’s easy to get sucked into an information spiral. Setting up rules and boundaries should help you avoid this. If you’re unsure, why not try setting an alarm?
At Siron Clinical, we keep up with the latest clinical trial news, and we share the top stories on social media and in our newsletter. If you haven’t yet, you can sign up on the website.