FDA Makes Earliest Stages Of Clinical Trials More Efficient

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FDA Makes Earliest Stages Of Clinical Trials More Efficient

Postby dignan » Mon Jan 16, 2006 12:00 pm

An interesting FDA development that could speed the drug approval process in the US...

FDA Issues Advice to Make Earliest Stages Of Clinical Drug Development More Efficient

January 12, 2006 - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced steps to advance the earliest phases of clinical research in the development of innovative medical treatments. FDA’s goal is to improve the process for bringing safe and effective drugs for potentially serious and life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders, to the market.

In guidance documents released today, Exploratory IND Studies and INDs—Approaches to Complying with CGMP During Phase 1, the FDA lays out specific approaches for researchers who are planning to conduct very early clinical studies in people and offers approaches for performing appropriate safety testing and producing small amounts of drugs safely. In line with the aims of FDA’s Critical Path Initiative to modernize the drug development process, these changes will enable U.S. medical researchers to evaluate much more efficiently the promise of scientific advances discovered in their laboratories.

“Currently, nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. “The recommendations announced today will help more researchers conduct earlier, more-informed studies of promising treatments so patients have more rapid access to safer and more effective drugs.”

The Exploratory IND Studies guidance will facilitate very early exploratory scientific studies in people before the standard safety studies (phase 1) begin. Because only small amounts of drugs are used in these early studies, they represent fewer potential risks for people in these trials. In the final version of the guidance Exploratory IND Studies, FDA makes recommendations about safety testing, manufacturing, and clinical approaches that can be used in these very early studies. The guidance explains how medical researchers can take full advantage of the flexibility built into existing regulations in the amount of data needed when asking the FDA’s permission to proceed with such a study, enabling more rapid delivery of innovative products to patients.

“One of the biggest barriers research and academic institutions face is the ability to get discoveries made in the lab into clinical testing. The new Exploratory IND guidance emphasizes the flexibility available to researchers when conducting early clinical testing of these cutting-edge treatments,” said Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, Acting FDA Commissioner of Food and Drugs. “As we enter the era of personalized medicine, these exploratory approaches enable scientists to take full advantage of new technologies to target the development of more individualized therapies.”

In related draft guidance, INDs—Approaches to Complying with CGMP During Phase 1, the FDA outlines a suggested approach to complying with current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements for drugs intended for use solely in phase 1 studies. With this new guidance and an accompanying regulation, FDA formally recognizes specific standards for the manufacture of small amounts of drug product for phase 1 studies and formulating an approach to cGMP compliance that is appropriate for the particular stage of drug development.

“The problem is that researchers conducting very early studies were required to follow the same manufacturing procedures as those companies that mass produce products for broad scale distribution," said Janet Woodcock, MD, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Operations. "These requirements are so burdensome for early phase 1 studies that many leading medical research institutions have not been able to conduct these studies of discoveries made in their laboratories. Today, for the first time, medical researchers are getting specific advice from the FDA about how to safely prepare products for exploratory studies."

The documents released today are part of FDA’s commitment to modernize existing CGMP regulations to streamline clinical development. These efforts are part of the Agency’s Critical Path Initiative, launched in a March 2004. The goal of the Critical Path Initiative is to reduce the time and resources expended on candidate products that are unlikely to succeed, by creating new tools to distinguish earlier in the process those candidates that hold promise.

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Postby dignan » Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:19 pm

An article from New Scientist about the proposed FDA trial changes...

Humans may soon become guinea pigs

21 January 2006 - From New Scientist Print Edition - HUMAN guinea pigs could soon be testing small quantities of experimental drugs, making it quicker and easier to weed out those that don't work.

Nine out of ten experimental drugs don't make it to market because of biochemical reactions that didn't surface in the animal models. Now the US Food and Drug Administration has changed its testing criteria to help pinpoint such "dud drugs" before they ever get to clinical trials.

The minute quantities permitted by the new guidelines probably wouldn't uncover every potential glitch, but should reveal some basic molecular behaviour, such as whether or not cancer drugs would be preferentially absorbed by tumours. It could also cut down on the number of animals used in drug research.

But while the tiny amounts of drugs used in the studies should pose no danger, not everyone is convinced. "Animal tests aren't there just to show us how a drug works, but also how potentially harmful it is," says Sidney Wolfe, health research director at consumer advocacy group Public Citizen based in Washington DC. "We should be careful that jumping over safeguards doesn't sacrifice human health for the sake of saving money."

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/hea ... 3.200.html
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Re: FDA Makes Earliest Stages Of Clinical Trials More Effici

Postby NHE » Wed Jan 25, 2006 4:04 pm

Here's a recent article from the Center for Medical Consumers on the Perils of Speedy Drug Approval. It covers related information, e.g., the effect of the Prescription Drug User Fees that are paid by pharmaceutical companies to the FDA to review their candidate drugs for approval.

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