The Cytel blog keeps you up to speed with the latest developments in biostatistics and clinical biometrics.

Avoiding Lost-in-Translation with Submission Terminology

February 24, 2021

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of proper use of CDISC Controlled Terminology (CDISC CT) in SDTM. However, the CDISC-CT is not the only submission terminology you need to be familiar with when building SDTM datasets to be submitted to the FDA (and similarly to the PMDA). As per the FDA Data Standards Catalog, when submitting datasets to the agency, you need to follow not only the CDISC standards (SDTM, ADAM, define-xml and CDISC-CT) but also a number of other submission terminologies. For example, this is the case of MedDRA when your SDTM package contains Adverse Events data, or WHO Drug Dictionary for Medications, but there are also a number of other submission terminologies you need to apply, particularly in the TS – Trial Summary Dataset.

A number of presentations and papers have been published discussing TS domain[1] and clarify requirements that are not always fully clear in the SDTM IG or in the agencies Technical Conformance Guide.

In this blog, I focus on TS and discuss some specific parameters that you need to submit in TS using various “external” dictionaries, and help you understand how to find the correct term (and code).

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A little walk in the CDISC Library, hand in hand with SAS

January 28, 2021

The Christmas break presented an opportunity to make my first concrete steps into the CDISC Library. Overall, it was a pleasant “promenade”.

The CDISC Library forms the foundation of an ongoing transformation in the way we will access and make use of the CDISC standards to facilitate the long awaited and desired, end-to-end data process implementation (see also the CDISC 360 project).

With the availability of the CIDSC Library, vendors can now develop software which you can use to instantly access standards i.e., Standards Controlled Terminology or data standards (for example SDTM). Standards are now available in machine readable and non-proprietary format.

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Submitting Software Programs to the Regulatory Agencies, what should you know?

December 18, 2020

Can I submit software programs other than SAS? What software programs should I submit? Are sponsors required to submit executable programs?

Do I need to rename my software programs so that they all have the same extension e.g. “.txt”?

Can I make use of macros in my software programs and if so, should macros be part of the submission package?

What kind of documentations for software programs should I include in the submission package?

Do I need to follow any particular style and conventions when writing software programs that will be part of a submission package?

A single topic generates so many questions! Get the answers in this blog.

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Data Standards and Submission Highlights from PHUSE EU CONNECT 2020

November 23, 2020

The Virtual PHUSE-EU CONNECT Conference was held from November 8 to 13 and the event was a great success, despite all of us missing the face-to-face contact.

The conference kicked-off on Sunday night with a Social Virtual event with a “Numerologist Show”. Of course this could not replace and compete with the usual “toast” we were used to do live, so we did it virtually (check out my LinkedIn post where I offer some cocktails recommendations and share the recipe of my favorite cocktail “The Negroni” with a bit of history. But please don’t do it before Friday night, you will need the weekend to recover).

Like every year, Cytel significantly contributed to the event as one of the official sponsors, running a workshop (“Predictive Analytics Using R”), chairing and co-chairing two streams (Machine Learning & Connected Health and Scripts and Macros), preparing four on demand presentations (in Application and Development, Coding and Tricks and Data Standards and Governance streams) and two posters.

In this blog, I focus on presentations related to data standards and data submission to agency, in general.

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10 Key Qualifications for Independent Statisticians Reporting to the DMC

November 19, 2020

Data Monitoring Committees (DMCs) are groups of independent experts who periodically receive (by-arm) reports created by an independent Statistical Data Analysis Center (SDAC) using interim data from ongoing studies. The role of the DMC is to make recommendations about the continuation of the studies based on their best judgment and sometimes specified guidelines.

The DMC typically includes at least one statistician who votes on the decision to recommend stopping, modifying, or continuing a study. The SDAC typically is represented by at least one independent statistician and these statisticians are intermediaries between the sponsor and the DMC. The SDAC independent statisticians facilitate the efforts of the DMC by preparing and presenting summary data, taking care of meeting logistics, etc. These SDAC statisticians need ‘hard skills’ such as expertise in biostatistics, experience with clinical trial data, and knowledge of the study protocol. But it is essential that these SDAC statisticians also have the ‘soft skills’ for this role. In this blog, we highlight 10 key qualifications for these SDAC independent statisticians that are less technical, but no less essential.

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Staffing Needs for RWE Delivery

November 3, 2020

When an expert statistician is paired with an experienced set of data managers, opportunities to capitalize on quantitative strategy are spotted more quickly. Statisticians can determine whether datasets can strengthen study findings by being presented in a way that uses the available data in a scientifically objective way that is at the same time in line with the clients’ strategic objectives.

The practice of combining statistical needs with the processes of data management and other related services for real world evidence, we will henceforth call RWE-Delivery. There are several models for RWE-delivery that can similarly vary with the needs of a study. Questions about process, management and timelines are just as key for this choice of delivery model, as the objectives of the delivery. Therefore, it is important to work closely with delivery teams to determine the possible needs for study completion.

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The Missing Link: Risking your Traceability (and “Credibility”) when your ADaM package is not traceable back to SDTM

October 28, 2020

About three years ago, Cytel was helping a sponsor on a project where I had to conduct surveillance of some CRO deliverables, mainly for SDTM and ADaM packages. At first, I was involved in the review cycle of SDTM, and began by reviewing some initial mapping specifications including a draft SDTM Annotated CRF. The CRO in charge was quite experienced and there was nothing major to spot in all the different versions I had to review.

Surprisingly, it was not the case some months later, when I had to provide the same review support for the Biostatistics deliverables, specific to the ADaM package. The ADaM datasets overall were well designed, and there were no major open non-conformance issues. However, it was clear from the very beginning that there was something missing - a missing link between SDTM and ADaM.

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Overcoming Clinical Development Challenges in Oncology with Innovative, Adaptive Designs: Complimentary Paper

July 7, 2020

Having its roots in the seminar rooms of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Cytel has a long record of establishing new methods in small samples, adaptive designs, Bayesian designs and multi-arm trials, to align statistical rigor to the goal of accelerating clinical development for oncology trials.

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Trevor Mundel, President of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on COVID-19 and the Future of Drug Development in Emerging Economies

June 9, 2020

Trevor Mundel leads the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s efforts to develop high-impact interventions against the leading causes of death and disability in developing countries. During a Cytel panel on the COVID-19 response, Trevor reflects on the complexities of data management, forecasting, dose-finding, recruitment and retention, when responding to a global pandemic.

Hear the entire conversation by clicking the button below or read further to get some of the highlights of this critical discussion.

Access replay

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