4th International Clinical Trials Methodology Conference


Just a few days before celebrating the International Clinical Trials Day (20th May), CSM and OCTRU members had the opportunity to attend the 4th International Clinical Trials Methodology Conference in Liverpool (7-10 May, 2017). This conference is running every other year, attracting clinicians, policy makers, methodologists, statisticians, health economists, trial managers across the world. This year there were over 1,000 registrations!

It was a great opportunity to discuss and reflect on the achievements of trials methodology research across a variety of disease areas as well as future priorities. CSM and OCTRU had a very dynamic presence at the Conference with three oral presentations (Gavin Reilly, Sally Hopewell and Melina Dritsaki), one workshop (Sally Hopewell) and five posters (Susan Dutton, Bethan Copsey, Virginia Chiocchia, Lei Clifton and Karan Vadher).

Presentations and discussions were conducted in the form of six parallel sessions during the conference. Just to get the gist of them, I will highlight below a few themes I found particularly interesting with application to our own work.

How, by whom and from whom do you collect data for adult population with diminished capacity to make their own decisions? Three senior researchers presented their own experiences in conducting trials with stroke patients with aphasia, learning disabilities and care home residents with dementia. Practical and methodological issues about conducting adaptive design trials were discussed with reflection to the health economics analysis. The health economists highlighted how adaptive designs and Value of Information (VOI) analysis could facilitate efficiency and accuracy in decision making. Take away message: a pre- specified health economics analysis plan is needed, considerations of cost-effectiveness analysis should be made in the interim analysis of the trial, and reporting guidelines for adaptive design trials should be generated. This session, although completely independent from my own presentation, linked very natural with my discussions around generating guidelines and standardised procedures for reporting health economic analysis plans.

The registry data session offered very lively discussion around the advocates of pragmatic RCTs and those in favour of registry data. Some advice offered to those who wish to work with registry data are to always check whether data and evidence generated can support the question in hand (fit-for-purpose), their ability to support the existing trial and their ability to incorporate appropriate timing for collection of key data points. Current practices of sharing individual participant data from RCTs and future thinking was discussed among academics and industry representatives. Hywel Williams, previous Chair of the HTA Commissioning Board and Programme Director of the HTA Programme, gave an excellent keynote lecture about HTA.

The Conference could not have ended better than a Beatles Band party and a very exquisite menu of the highest culinary skills. We all enjoyed the Conference organisation overall and looking forward to the next one.