Conference to Explore New Collaborations and Technology Needed for Next Decade of Clinical Trials

Medical research and treatment increasingly depend on patient participation and new technologies—two critical aspects of modern health care that experts will discuss at a conference co-sponsored by AAAS.

The 6-7 June meeting, “Clinical Trials: New Challenges & Opportunities” will examine the future of scientific studies that work with human volunteers to find new ways to diagnose, screen, prevent, and treat disease. The event is co-sponsored by the National Library of Medicine and the Friends of the National Library of Medicine.

Joseph Perpich

Joseph Perpich

Part of the National Library of Medicine’s 175th anniversary celebrations, the conference recognizes one of the Library’s signature achievements: ClinicalTrials.gov, the public database of federal and privately-funded clinical trials. ClinicalTrials.gov has become “an extraordinary force” in shaping medical research since it was launched in 2000, said conference co-chair and biomedical consultant Joseph Perpich.

The database, along with electronic health records and the rise of personalized medicine, Perpich noted, represent “a paradigm shift in the conduct of health research, and in the organization and dissemination of health information.”

Mark S. Frankel

Mark S. Frankel

“Social media technology also has empowered people with similar diseases to establish online communities that collect data for possible research and may also create a critical mass of potential subjects for clinical trials, said Mark S. Frankel, director of the AAAS Program on Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law, who helped plan the conference program. “It is critical that we consider how these developments will affect the more traditional ways that clinical research has been done, and what that will mean for translating findings into treatments.”

The conference, to be held on the campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, will bring together academic, government, and industry experts with patient groups. Speakers, including NIH Director Francis S. Collins, will explore the role of government and industry partnerships to develop clinical trials, including the potential importance of the proposed National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Other topics include strategic design and federal regulation of clinical trials, and the growing role that patients play in trials. From recruiting participants to sharing results and designing studies, Perpich said, “there are many more opportunities for collaborative relationships between patients and researchers than there have been in the past.”

Register for the conference at the Friends of the National Library of Medicine Web site.

Register for the “Clinical Trials: New Challenges & Opportunities” conference.

Learn more about AAAS’s Scientific Freedom, Responsibility & Law Program.