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DPharm 2016 Day One Recap


  • September 20, 2016

  • The 6th annual DPharm: Disruptive Innovations to Advance Clinical Trials conference is officially underway this week in Boston.

    Did you miss out on DPharm day one? Here’s a look at five key topics that were discussed during DPharm’s day one sessions.

    1. Embracing Limitations

    Pointillist artist Phil Hansen delivered DPharm’s patient address and described how he seized his limitations to unlock creativity.

    Hansen suffered a severe hand tremor that initially appeared to derail his artistic career. However, he “embraced the shake” in his hand and began using unconventional materials – everything from greasy hamburger wrappers to matchsticks – to create awe-inspiring art.

    Ultimately, Hansen accepted his hand limitation. And by doing so, Hansen opened himself up to new opportunities – something that everyone can do if they choose to embrace their limitations.

    “We first need to be limited in order to become limitless,” Hansen told DPharm attendees. “When we change the way we look at a limitation, it changes how [the limitation] affects us.”

    1. Open Source Clinical Research

    Greg Simon, JD, Executive Director of the White House Cancer Task Force, shared his thoughts on open source clinical research and the lack of medical data transparency during his DPharm keynote address.

    According to Simon, nearly every aspect of life is connected thanks to smartphones, tablets and other state-of-the-art mobile devices. Conversely, he pointed out that the health sector remains siloed due to a lack of data standardization.

    “I’m still dealing with the same problems I was dealing with in 2013,” Simon noted. “That just isn’t right.”

    Comparatively, the Cancer Moonshot may help accelerate the push for open source clinical research. This initiative, led by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, encourages members of the medical community to change their attitudes and views about clinical research and may drive “a decade’s worth of progress in diagnosing cancer in five years,” Simon said.

    “We’re trying to get everyone involved in the cancer enterprise to double our goals and shorten our time to achieve these goals by half,” Simon noted. “If we work together … then we have a chance.”

    1. Patient Engagement Transformation 

    Imagine what it would be like to enjoy an Apple Genius Bar experience at a hospital. Now, you can, thanks to Oschner Health System.

    Oschner Chief Clinical Transformation Officer Richard Milani, MD described the Oschner “O Bar” and some of its other patient engagement efforts during his DPharm presentation.

    He pointed out that Oschner created an “O Bar” that is designed to “promote engagement and curate health and wellness apps.” By doing so, Oschner has been able to drive its patient engagement levels.

    “The more we involve people in a behavior change, the more likely people are to make a change,” Milani stated. “We look for every opportunity.”

    Furthermore, Uber has revolutionized ridesharing for travelers in more than 500 cities across the United States, and the “uberization” of clinical trials may transform the way medical professionals and patients connect with one another as well.

    John Brownstein, Boston Children’s Hospital’s Chief Innovation Officer, explained how this uberization is benefiting medical professionals and patients during a DPharm session. He even noted that Boston Children’s has worked with Uber to make it easier than ever for patients to reap the benefits of vaccines.

    1. Different Approaches to Clinical Trials

    How does a contract research organization (CRO) disrupt clinical trials? It all might come down to how CROs approach their role in these trials.

    Ira Spector, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President of Analytics and Consulting at ICON, noted that CROs “are responsible to make the changes” in clinical trials. As such, CROs serve as “integrators” that may play a crucial role in clinical trials going forward.

    “Our jobs are largely to be integrators and to take technologies from wherever we can find them and integrate them,” Spector said.

    Let’s not forget about the digitization of clinical trials, either. This subject remains a hot topic, particularly among officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    FDA regulations related to the digitization of clinical trials were originally implemented in 1997, i.e. a time when Netscape Navigator was the leading web browser and few people knew about Google.

    Clearly, a lot has changed over the past two decades, and the FDA continues to explore ways to revamp its requirements for the digitization of clinical trials.

    Kaveeta Vasisht, MD, Medical Officer at the FDA’s Office of Medical Policy, said the FDA recognizes that “there is a tremendous amount of opportunity” with new technologies. Meanwhile, the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative and other programs may push the digitization of clinical trials, too.

    Lastly, Eli Lilly is working with artist John Magnan to create crowdsourced art that illustrates heroic efforts of those who participate in clinical trials.

    Known as “The Hero’s Journey,” the crowdsourced art is designed to honor clinical trial volunteers as well as raise awareness of clinical trials. The art also highlights how each clinical trial participant is his or her own hero and encourages everyone to share their thoughts and feelings about clinical research by using the Twitter hashtag #herosjourneyart.

    1. Disruptive Technology in Clinical Trials

    At McLaren, data drives everything. Therefore, the automaker relies on real-time data that “underpins everything that McLaren does,” according to McLaren Applied Technologies Chief Medical Officer Adam Hill, MD.

    Hill noted that McLaren strives to achieve “optimization based upon data management” in clinical trials. He also stated that McLaren recognizes that the future of clinical trials requires an underpinning distributed technology platform that can support continuous improvement.

    “Analysis allows us to derive insight,” Hill said. “And that insight drives more informed decisions.”

    Moreover, the DPharm Idol competition gave DPharm attendees the chance to learn about disruptive technology that could enhance clinical trials for years to come.

    This year’s DPharm Idol presenting companies included:

    • Optimal Strategix Group (OSG)
    • Florence Health
    • N-of-One
    • HealthVerity
    • 4G Clinical
    • TriNetX

    The aforementioned companies will be evaluated by a panel of judges that includes:

    Laura Galuchie
    Head, Clinical Performance, Analysis & Innovation, Merck Research Laboratories 

    Julian Jenkins, PhD
    VP, Innovation Performance & Technology, GSK

    Andreas Koester, MD, PhD
    VP, Innovation R&D Operations, Janssen

    Sarah Krüg
    CEO, Cancer 101 and President, Society of Participatory Medicine

    Stephanie Petrone
    Executive Director, Medical Operations, Novartis Oncology

    Chandra Ramanathan, PhD, MBA
    VP and Head, East Coast Innovation Center, Bayer HealthCare

    Jane Rhodes, MBA, PhD
    Senior Director of New Initiatives, Biogen Idec

    Darshan Shah
    Director Global Products, Global Medicines Director, AstraZeneca

    Katherine Vandebelt
    Global Head, Clinical Innovation, Eli Lilly & Company

    Which company will win this year’s DPharm Idol? We’ll find out tomorrow during day two of DPharm 2016, so be sure to check out our blog for updates.