Researchers Aim to Speed Cures to Patients

Hoping to speed development of treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases, scientists are testing new methods to research promising medications.

Bringing a new drug to market typically costs upward of $100 million and can take as many as 15 years of research, testing and regulatory review. As a result, health experts worry that not enough innovative medicines are being developed, or that the progress is too slow.

One strategy to get new drugs from lab to patients more quickly is by redesigning the way clinical trials, which test experimental drugs on people for effectiveness and safety, are conducted. A novel approach, known as adaptive trial design, takes stock of patients’ reactions to a drug early in a clinical trial to modify the way the rest of the trial is handled. The aim is to more quickly identify drugs that are working and those that aren’t. Traditionally, patient reactions aren’t revealed until a trial is completed and all the data are in.

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