R Beyond Statistics

Posted by Cytel

Oct 25, 2016 7:59:00 AM

 

Use of R is a hot topic among statisticians and programmers in the pharmaceutical industry.  At the recent PhUSE conference in Barcelona there was a clear uplift in interest in the  language and a number of sessions explored introductory principles and examples of how R can be used in practice.  Cytel's Namrata Deshpande presented on the use of R beyond Statistics through a case study of the development of a user friendly tool deploying non-statistical packages in R to enable clinical decision making. The talk won first prize in the Trends and Technology track at the PhUSE conference.  In this blog, we'll discuss some of the aspects presented and share Namrata's slides for download.

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Topics: Clinical Research Services, Statistical Programming, clinical development, Rstats, R


The evolving role of the modern statistical programmer

Posted by Cytel

Oct 13, 2016 9:16:00 AM

Statistical programmers play a key role in turning the data from clinical trials into knowledge and supporting the development of new medicines.  In a dynamic industry with demands such as CDISC compliance, data transparency initiatives, big data, and cost pressures the role is evolving to become ever more multi-dimensional. Statistical programmers now have the opportunity to follow their specific interests and specialize in a range of areas.

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Topics: Clinical Research Services, Statistical Programming, clinical development, SAS


Challenges in Neuroscience Clinical Trials

Posted by Cytel

Oct 5, 2016 9:48:00 AM

 While some progress has been made in terms of scientific development in Neuroscience and Neuropsychiatry indications, the pace of translation into more effective treatments  remains elusive.

 At the recent Cytel seminar co-hosted with Pfizer, Abdul J. Sankoh of Sage Therapeutics presented on some of the challenges in these therapeutic areas and discusses strategies moving forward.  He bases his presentation on his broad industry experience. 

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Topics: Clinical Research Services, psychiatry and neuroscience, biostatistics, adaptive designs, adaptive trials


Case Study:Seamless Phase 2/3 Design in Rare Disease

Posted by Cytel

Sep 9, 2016 9:24:00 AM

 

Challenge:

Our client, an emerging biotechnology company, was preparing for the next stage of development for their novel compound in a rare disease.  They had two major concerns which they wanted the clinical trial design to address- an anticipated difficulty in recruiting subjects to the trial, and  the cost and time investment associated with running separate phase 2 and phase 3 trials.  They approached Cytel’s strategic consulting team for an innovative solution.

Solution:

An inferentially seamless Phase 2/ 3 design with promising zone was proposed as a means to address the sponsor’s objectives. Because of uncertainty regarding which dose would be selected and what the effect size of the selected dose would be, the team proposed design options which allowed for adjustment of the sample size using information learned at the interim analysis.  Several seamless phase 2/3 designs, with and without adaptive sample size re-estimation were evaluated through simulations using East 6.4.

The simulations evaluated various design parameters such as maximal sample size, timing of the interim analysis, size of the promising zone, and efficacy and futility boundaries. Designs were compared on the basis of overall power, average sample size, conditional power, probability of entering each interim zone, and number of overruns.

Value Added:

The inferentially seamless design has the potential to accelerate clinical development by removing the ‘white space’ between phases 2 and 3.  Where the sample size is increased adaptively at the interim analysis by a specified percentage of the original pre-planned sample size, an overall increase in power could also be achieved.  The sample size re-estimation design provided a boost to power where the interim results fell  in the promising zone.  The client benefited from a design which only calls for additional investment of patients and resources when this investment would meaningfully boost the chances of success.

Cytel's statistical consulting team help you decide if an adaptive approach is right for your trial. Read further examples of our work by clicking below. 

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Topics: Clinical Research Services, Cytel Strategic Consulting, Phase 3, phase 2, biostatistics, EAST 6.4, adaptive trials, Seamless designs


Overcoming challenges of 'Less Well Understood' Adaptive Designs

Posted by Cytel

Sep 7, 2016 8:00:00 AM

In the 2010 draft FDA ‘Guidance for Industry on Adaptive Design Clinical Trials for Drugs and Biologics',  the agency makes an important distinction between ‘well understood’ and ‘less well understood’ adaptive designs.

‘Well understood” adaptive designs may include such approaches as adaptation of eligibility criteria, adaptation for stopping early and adaptations to maintain study power based on blinded interim analyses of aggregate data. For these 'well-understood designs', there is little concern from the FDA about their potential to be implemented in adequate and well-controlled trials.  On the other hand, at the time of the drafting of the guidance at least, ‘ less well understood designs' (which include such approaches as adaptations for dose selection studies, adaptation of patient population based on treatment-effect estimates,  and adaptation for end-point selection based on interim estimates of treatment effect) gave greater concern. Interestingly, the FDA  Adaptive Designs for Medical Device Clinical Studies : Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff does not adopt this distinction. 

A recent article, Addressing Challenges and Opportunities of “Less Well-Understood” Adaptive Designs (He et al 2016) (1) takes a look at some of the perceived challenges of these designs and ways in which they may be overcome.  The publication is the result of work by a best practice sub-team formed by the DIA Adaptive Design Scientific Working group in January 2014. Cytel's Yannis Jemiai is a member of this group, and one of the co-authors of the article. 

In this blog, we take a look at a few of the challenges outlined and some of the suggested mitigations.  One aspect covered in the publication is seamless designs- and given the scope we'll devote a separate blog to this area. 

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Topics: sample size re-estimation, Clinical Research Services, type 1 error, Software Simulations, patient enrollment, adaptive designs, adaptive trials, DMC


Operational and regulatory considerations in a promising zone trial

Posted by Cytel

Aug 9, 2016 9:00:00 AM

At the recent JSM Meeting, Cytel’s Yannis Jemiai presented the case study of the VALOR trial which used a promising zone design. At the time of the study, existing therapy for relapsed or refractory AML was generally unsatisfactory with no approved drugs available for patients, and a very poor prognosis.  Vosaroxin was a first-in-class anticancer quinolone derivative which had previously been studied in a single arm Phase 2 study. In this blog we'll take a look at the operational and regulatory considerations in the implementation of this trial, which were highlighted during Jemiai's talk. 

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Topics: Oncology, Clinical Research Services, Regulation, ACES, biostatistics, adaptive designs, adaptive trials, DMC


The CRO role in Data Standards Governance

Posted by Cytel

Aug 2, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Editor's note( this blog was refreshed in April 2018)

As CDISC compliant submissions become increasingly expected, biopharmaceutical companies are considering how to approach the issue of data standards governance.  Standards governance is a lynchpin in the management of CDISC compliance and is important for promoting standards awareness within organizations. It’s also an acknowledged hot topic in the industry.

It has traditionally been common practice for biopharma companies to outsource their CDISC conversion of legacy data for the purpose of publications and submissions to expert CROs.  While large biopharma organizations may have dedicated in-house teams deployed to the management of standards governance, the dynamic nature of CDISC requirements means companies can struggle to find the resources to keep up to date and provide the best interpretation of the documentation. Outsourcing can be an option to ensure dedicated staff are available to manage and monitor these aspects and ensure companies remain submission ready.

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Topics: Data Management, Clinical Research Services, Statistical Programming, Clinical Data, EDC, database build, data manager, CDM, CDISC, SDTM, ADaM, CDASH


6 steps to timely database lock

Posted by Cytel

Jul 28, 2016 10:06:00 AM

To close a clinical database right the first time you have to begin with study start-up. Clearly, you can’t close a database if the data is not cleaned and you can’t have clean data unless you know what is most important for analysis. It’s imperative that data management works closely with the statistics group during CRF/ eCRF design to ensure data is being collected and data checks are being written in a meaningful fashion. But that’s still not enough. The data should be cleaned on a regular basis and forms locked as soon as the data has been SDVd and reviewed. Even then, it will be important to have your statistics team run listings and tables early on to catch anything unexpected. If the data is cleaned and locked by the time the last patient visit comes around then getting Principal Investigator sign-off and ultimately closing the database can run much more smoothly and quickly.

Database lock is a significant milestone in the clinical trial, upon which further data analysis and reporting timelines depend.  The Clinical Data Manager is responsible for steering the data management process to ensure that the database is locked on time, and correctly.  In this blog we lay out the 6 steps to database lock success.

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Topics: Data Management, Clinical Research Services, Clinical Data, EDC, database build, data manager, big data


Key considerations in selecting an EDC system

Posted by Cytel

Jul 12, 2016 9:00:00 AM

 How do you go about selecting the best Electronic Data Capture (EDC) system for your study?  There is now a vast amount of choice in the market, and many factors to take into account before making your decision.  Different stakeholders within the business may also have different perspectives, so any decision making process needs to balance these disparate needs.  

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Topics: Data Management, Clinical Research Services, Clinical Data, EDC, database build, data manager, CDM


Getting the best out of your biometrics RFP

Posted by Cytel

Jun 23, 2016 7:21:06 AM

 

Vendor selection is a critical component of ensuring clinical trial success.  A 2015 report (1)  suggested that clinical outsourcing penetration will reach 72% by 2020- nearly 3 quarters of all clinical trials will be outsourced to professional CROs.  The process of vendor selection and management may be managed by the clinical operations teams within smaller companies, or by outsourcing and functional groups within larger organizations.  The RFP process is a critical part of vendor evaluation, involving significant effort from the sponsor and CRO to ensure that a well-constructed, accurate proposal is created which can deliver what the sponsor needs.

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Topics: Clinical Research Services, outsourcing, Clinical Development Strategy, EDC, database build


Managing DMC analysis- an innovative programming solution

Posted by Cytel

Jun 14, 2016 8:00:00 AM

At Cytel, we are very often asked to get involved in DMCs ( Data Monitoring Committees)  in a variety of capacities. Our statistical experts are recognized for their work in many of the areas related to DMCs including-group sequential and adaptive designs, multiplicity, missing data, and decision sciences.  One key operational management issue when producing analysis for DMCs  is that rules must be defined so that trial unblinding is not compromised and bias remains controlled.  In this blog, we will explore an innovative approach developed by members of our statistical programming team to improve the efficiency of this process, while maintaining the highest levels of data security. 

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Topics: Clinical Research Services, Statistical Programming, Interim Analyses, Blind and Unblind Trials, Clinical Data, ACES, biostatistics, DMC


Lost in Traceability- From SDTM to ADaM

Posted by Cytel

May 12, 2016 10:18:00 AM

 

Once upon a time Hansel and Gretel laid a trail of breadcrumbs which they followed to find their way back home.  Their story can be an allegory for the concept of traceability in clinical data where we need to  lay a clear path to ensure that the results we have created can be reproduced. This blog looks at some aspects of a presentation Lost in Traceability  by Angelo Tinazzi at the CDISC EU Interchange. 

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Topics: Clinical Research Services, Statistical Programming, FDA, Clinical Data, CDISC, SDTM, ADaM, EMA, PMDA, Biometrics


5 Hot Topics from the CDISC EU Interchange

Posted by Angelo Tinazzi

May 4, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Last week was the CDISC EU Interchange conference in Vienna, a key event on the calendar for Cytel’s statistical programming subject matter experts . Angelo Tinazzi, Director, Statistical Programming, Clinical Data Standards and Clinical Data Submission at Cytel co-chaired the sessions on Foundational Standards and Standards Governance alongside Astrazeneca’s Daniel Graham, and delivered a presentation on Traceability within the Foundational standards track.

In this blog, Angelo highlights some of the hot topics which emerged from the presentations he attended during the meeting. 

 

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Topics: Clinical Research Services, Statistical Programming, FDA, Clinical Data, CDISC, SDTM, ADaM, EMA, PMDA, Biometrics


Overcoming Data Management Challenges in Oncology Studies

Posted by Cytel

Apr 26, 2016 11:30:00 AM

In this blog we’ll highlight some unique challenges that are encountered from a Data Management perspective when working on early phase Oncology trials. We’ll also discuss approaches which can be employed to mitigate these issues.  

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Topics: Oncology, Data Management, Clinical Research Services, Phase 1, Clinical Data, phase 2, EDC, database build, data manager, CDM, Biometrics


Handling CDM data integrations

Posted by Cytel

Apr 20, 2016 8:00:00 AM

During the course of any clinical trial, there are often data which, while collected electronically, are outside of the scope of the eCRF . These data include central lab results like ECGs, PK/PD data and others. In this blog we’ll take a look at some key considerations in handling electronic data transfers and any subsequent integration with the core EDC database.

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Topics: Data Management, Clinical Research Services, Clinical Data, EDC, database build, data manager, CDM


5 Key Interactions of Clinical DM and Statistics

Posted by Cytel

Apr 15, 2016 9:00:00 AM

It's critical for biostatistics and data management to be closely aligned and working effectively together. The consequences when these biometrics teams aren't integrated can be significant-  impacting on both efficiency and data quality.  If data is collected and cleaned without the input of statistics, the assumptions which have been made may not be adequate, resulting in additional work and compromised timelines.  So, let's take a closer look at 5 important interactions between the two functions during the course of a clinical trial. 

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Topics: Data Management, Clinical Research Services, Clinical Data, EDC, database build, data manager, CDM, Biometrics


Getting Technical: The evolving role of the Data Manager

Posted by Cytel

Feb 26, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Remember the early days of Electronic Data Capture? Those first systems, which were revolutionary for their time featured basic data entry screens, simple edit checks and a handful of reports. 

Technology has come a long way since then, and the EDC landscape has matured dramatically along with it.  Current EDC must-haves include easy user and site management, secure automated password retrieval, robust reporting, query and SAE management, as well as Source Data Verification, and Risk based monitoring. Many sites need to be active at the same time; labs need to enter or upload data directly into the system; medical coding should be performed inside of the tool; images need to be uploaded and stored; email and text alerts sent to investigators and sponsors, and patient reported outcomes and diaries need to be available.

Counter intuitively, while EDC system functionality is becoming ever more sophisticated, the interface to build the systems is becoming easier to use and understand.

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Topics: Data Management, Clinical Research Services, Clinical Data, EDC, database build, data manager, CDM


The 24 Hour Work Day

Posted by Esha Senchaudhuri

Nov 5, 2015 3:34:15 PM

People Together-4

Oftentimes people perceive a tradeoff between speed and quality. The faster you do something the more likely you are to make mistakes. Then again, checking everything carefully means things take a longer time.

Right?  

What if you could promise a team that could work 24-7?

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Topics: Data Management, Clinical Research Services, Clinical Development Strategy


Do you really need a full service CRO? An exploration of strategic options

Posted by Esha Senchaudhuri

Aug 13, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Full service or specialized? Full service or specialized?

For many looking to hire a CRO, the answer is obvious.

Obvious Answer #1: A full service CRO simplifies your life by ensuring you need only one point of contact in stressful situations or when things appear to be going wrong. Clearly you want a full service CRO because clearly you want to keep things simple.  
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Obvious Answer #2: A specialized CRO is exactly that, specialized. It sustains itself by being extremely good at doing the thing you hired it to do, and doing it better than everyone else. Clearly you want a specialized CRO because clearly you want the best.
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The decision is difficult in part because it touches upon various crucial points of a clinical trial sponsor's strategy: top-notch knowledge and expertise, timely delivery, simple responses to unforseeable events. Your business and development strategy should ultimately affect your decision-making. 

Here are a few things you might consider to avoid making a decision that is wrong for you. 

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Topics: Data Management, Clinical Research Services, Clinical Data


Building Teams to Handle Unexpected Regulatory Agency Requests

Posted by Esha Senchaudhuri

Jun 5, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Not long ago, one of our clients submitted Phase 2 and Phase 3 data for a new rare disease drug which had received priority review status. Following submission, regulators requested that our client also submit pooled data from its Phase 1 studies along with a safety analysis. This analysis had the potential to clinch NDA approval for the new product.

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Topics: Data Management, Clinical Research Services, Regulation, Phase 1


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