Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Clinical trial protocol


Bibrocathol is a well-established antiseptic drug for the treatment of acute eyelid diseases like blepharitis. Despite its frequent use in clinical practice, no controlled clinical trial on the efficacy of bibrocathol 2% eye ointment has been performed until now. The aim of the study was to investigate efficacy, safety and tolerability of bibrocathol (Posiformin® 2 %) eye ointment in patients diagnosed with blepharitis.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Medical terms, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Clinical trial protocol, Chalazion


Left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) using the Watchman device was FDA-approved as a stroke prevention alternative to warfarin for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. However, clinical decision-making is confounded by the fact that while LAAC avoids the anticoagulant-related lifetime risk of bleeding, implantation is associated with up-front complications. Thus, enthusiasm for LAAC as a treatment option has been appropriately tempered, particularly as the therapy is introduced beyond the clinical trial sites into general clinical practice.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Warfarin, Atrial flutter, Clinical trial protocol, Left atrial appendage occlusion, Left atrial appendage


Hepatocarcinogenesis is a multistep process, heralded by abnormalities in cell differentiation and proliferation and sustained by an aberrant neoangiogenesis. Understanding the underlying molecular pathogenesis leading to hepatocellular carcinoma is a prerequisite to develop new drugs that will hamper or block the steps of these pathways. As hepatocellular carcinoma has higher arterial vascularization than normal liver, this could be a good target for novel molecular therapies. Introduction of the antiangiogenic drug sorafenib into clinical practice since 2008 has led to new perspectives in the management of this tumor. The importance of this drug lies not only in the modest gain of patients' survival, but in having opened a roadmap towards the development of new molecules and targets. Unfortunately, after the introduction of sorafenib, during the last years, a wide number of clinical trials on antiangiogenic therapies failed in achieving significant results. However, many of these trials are still ongoing and promise to improve overall survival and progression-free survival. A recent clinical trial has proven regorafenib effective in patients showing tumor progression under sorafenib, thus opening new interesting therapeutic perspectives. Many other expectations have been borne from the discovery of the immune checkpoint blockade, already known in other solid malignancies. Furthermore, a potential role in hepatocellular carcinoma therapy may derive from the use of branched-chain amino acids and of nutritional support. This review analyses the biomolecular pathways of hepatocellular carcinoma and the ongoing studies, the actual evidence and the future perspectives concerning drug therapy in this open field.

Concepts: Immune system, Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Cancer, The Canon of Medicine, Therapy, Classification of Pharmaco-Therapeutic Referrals, Clinical trial protocol


A novel Protocol Ethics Tool Kit (‘Ethics Tool Kit’) has been developed by a multi-stakeholder group of the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard. The purpose of the Ethics Tool Kit is to facilitate effective recognition, consideration and deliberation of critical ethical issues in clinical trial protocols. The Ethics Tool Kit may be used by investigators and sponsors to develop a dedicated Ethics Section within a protocol to improve the consistency and transparency between clinical trial protocols and research ethics committee reviews. It may also streamline ethics review and may facilitate and expedite the review process by anticipating the concerns of ethics committee reviewers. Specific attention was given to issues arising in multinational settings. With the use of this Tool Kit, researchers have the opportunity to address critical research ethics issues proactively, potentially speeding the time and easing the process to final protocol approval.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Effectiveness,, Clinical research, Ethics, Clinical trial protocol, Business ethics, Institutional review board


Reproducibility, data sharing, personal data privacy concerns and patient enrolment in clinical trials are huge medical challenges for contemporary clinical research. A new technology, Blockchain, may be a key to addressing these challenges and should draw the attention of the whole clinical research community.Blockchain brings the Internet to its definitive decentralisation goal. The core principle of Blockchain is that any service relying on trusted third parties can be built in a transparent, decentralised, secure “trustless” manner at the top of the Blockchain (in fact, there is trust, but it is hardcoded in the Blockchain protocol via a complex cryptographic algorithm). Therefore, users have a high degree of control over and autonomy and trust of the data and its integrity. Blockchain allows for reaching a substantial level of historicity and inviolability of data for the whole document flow in a clinical trial. Hence, it ensures traceability, prevents a posteriori reconstruction and allows for securely automating the clinical trial through what are called Smart Contracts. At the same time, the technology ensures fine-grained control of the data, its security and its shareable parameters, for a single patient or group of patients or clinical trial stakeholders.In this commentary article, we explore the core functionalities of Blockchain applied to clinical trials and we illustrate concretely its general principle in the context of consent to a trial protocol. Trying to figure out the potential impact of Blockchain implementations in the setting of clinical trials will shed new light on how modern clinical trial methods could evolve and benefit from Blockchain technologies in order to tackle the aforementioned challenges.

Concepts: Scientific method, Clinical trial, Informed consent, Medical statistics,, Clinical research, Clinical trial protocol



The dramatic success of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has led to the widespread perception that chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) has become another chronic disease, where lifelong commitment to pharmacological control is the paradigm. Recent trials demonstrate that some CML patients who have achieved stable deep molecular response can safely cease their therapy without relapsing (treatment free remission; TFR). Furthermore, those who are unsuccessful in their cessation attempt can safely re-establish remission after restarting their TKI therapy. Based on the accumulated data on TFR we propose that it is now time to change our approach for the many CML patients who have achieved a stable deep molecular response on long-term TKI therapy. Perhaps half of these patients could successfully achieve TFR if offered the opportunity. For many of these patients ongoing therapy is impairing quality of life and imposing a heavy financial burden while arguably achieving nothing. This recommendation is based on the evident safety of cessation attempts and TFR in the clinical trial setting. We acknowledge that there are potential risks associated with cessation attempts in wider clinical practice, but this should not deter us. Instead we need to establish criteria for safe and appropriate TKI cessation. Clinical trials will enable us to define the best strategies to achieve TFR, but clinicians need guidance today about how to approach this issue with their patients. We outline circumstances in which it would be in the patient’s best interest to continue TKI, as well as criteria for a safe TFR attempt.

Concepts: Medicine, Clinical trial, The Canon of Medicine, Pharmaceutical industry, Drug development, Clinical trial protocol, Good clinical practice, Clinical site


BACKGROUND: All randomized clinical trials (RCTs) require a protocol; however, numerous studies have highlighted protocol deficiencies. Reporting guidelines may improve the content of research reports and, if developed using robust methods, may increase the utility of reports to stakeholders. The objective of this study was to systematically identify and review RCT protocol guidelines, to assess their characteristics and methods of development, and to compare recommendations. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review of indexed literature (MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Methodology Register from inception to September 2010; reference lists; related article features; forward citation searching) and a targeted search of supplementary sources, including a survey of major trial funding agencies in six countries. Records were eligible if they described a content guideline in English or French relevant to RCT protocols. Guidelines were excluded if they specified content for protocols for trials of specific procedures or conditions or were intended to assess trial quality. We extracted guideline characteristics and methods. Content was mapped for a subset of guidelines that described development methods or had institutional endorsement. RESULTS: Forty guidelines published in journals, books and institutional reports were included in the review; seven were specific to RCT protocols. Only eight (20%) described development methods which included informal consensus methods, pilot testing and formal validation; no guideline described all of these methods. No guideline described formal consensus methods or a systematic retrieval of empirical evidence to inform its development. The guidelines included a median of 23 concepts per guideline (interquartile range (IQR) = 14 to 34; range = 7 to 109). Among the subset of guidelines (n = 23) for which content was mapped, approximately 380 concepts were explicitly addressed (median concepts per guideline IQR = 31 (24,80); range = 16 to 150); most concepts were addressed in a minority of guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: Existing guidelines for RCT protocol content varied substantially in their recommendations. Few reports described the methods of guideline development, limiting comparisons of guideline validity. Given the importance of protocols to diverse stakeholders, we believe a systematically developed, evidence-informed guideline for clinical trial protocols is needed.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Evidence-based medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Interquartile range, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Clinical trial protocol


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Bilastine (Bilaxten™) is a novel non-sedating H1 receptor antagonist (antihistamine) developed in the dosage form of oral tablets and indicated for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (seasonal and perennial) and urticaria. Several clinical trials have been performed in order to determine the efficacy and safety of bilastine. The aim of this trial was to study the absolute oral bioavailability of bilastine in humans. METHODS: Twelve male and female adults were recruited into a single centre for a randomized, single-dose, open-label, controlled two-arm crossover study with a minimum 14-day washout period between the two single doses. Two single doses of bilastine were administered: a 20-mg oral tablet and a 10-mg intravenous formulation. Blood and urine samples were collected between 0 and 72 h post each administration. The clinical trial was carried out under quality assurance and quality control systems with standard operating procedures to ensure that the study was conducted and data generated in compliance with the protocol, Good Clinical Practice standards, International Conference on Harmonisation and other applicable regulations. RESULTS: Oral bioavailability of bilastine was 60.67 % with a 90 % parametric confidence interval of 53.79-67.56. The maximum bilastine concentration was measured 1.31 h after oral administration. Pharmacokinetic parameters were similar to those observed in previous studies. Tolerance to treatment was good, with no adverse events related to study medication. CONCLUSION: The absorption of bilastine after oral administration to healthy subjects was rapid. The absolute oral bioavailability was moderate.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Crossover study, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Clinical trial protocol, Good clinical practice, Clinical site


Long-term follow-up care of survivors after burn injuries can potentially be improved by the application of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). PROMs can inform clinical decision-making and foster communication between the patient and provider. There are no previous reports using real-time, burn-specific PROMs in clinical practice to track and benchmark burn recovery over time. This study examines the feasibility of a computerized, burn-specific PROM, the Young Adult Burn Outcome Questionnaire (YABOQ), with real-time benchmarking feedback in a burn outpatient practice. The YABOQ was redesigned for formatting and presentation purposes using images and transcribed to a computerized format. The redesigned questionnaire was administered to young adult burn survivors (ages 19-30 years, 1-24 months from injury) via an ipad platform in the office before outpatient visits. A report including recovery curves benchmarked to a nonburned relatively healthy age-matched population and to patients with similar injuries was produced for the domains of physical function and social function limited by appearance. A copy of the domain reports as well as a complete copy of the patient’s responses to all domain questions was provided for use during the clinical visit. Patients and clinicians completed satisfaction surveys at the conclusion of the visit. Free-text responses, included in the satisfaction surveys, were treated as qualitative data adding contextual information about the assessment of feasibility. Eleven patients and their providers completed the study for 12 clinical visits. All patients found the ipad survey and report “easy” or “very easy” to use. In nine instances, patients “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that it helped them communicate their situation to their doctor/nurse practitioner. Patients “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the report helped them understand their course of recovery in 10 visits. In 11 visits, the patients “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they would recommend this feedback to others. Qualitative comments included: “it helped organize my thoughts of recovery,” “it opened lines of communication with the doctor,” “it showed me how far I have come, and how far I need to go,” and “it raised questions I would not have thought of.” Only four of 12 provider surveys agreed that it helped them understand a patient’s condition; however, in two visits, the providers stated that it helped identify a pertinent clinical issue. During two visits, providers stated that a treatment plan was discussed or recommended based on the survey results. Separately, qualitative comments from the providers included “survey was not sensitive enough to identify that this patient needed surgery for their scars.” This is the first report describing clinical use of a burn-specific patient reported outcome measure. Real-time feedback using the ipad YABOQ was well received for the most part by the clinicians and burn survivors in the outpatient clinic setting. The information provided by the reports can be tested in a future randomized controlled clinical study evaluating impacts on physician decisions.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Patient, Hospital, Physician, Clinical research, Clinical trial protocol, Clinic, Clinical data acquisition