Before a new drug can improve, let alone save, patients’ lives, it can take more than a decade from idea to market maturity. That’s a long time considering the immediate suffering of the patients who could benefit from new medicines. With cancer treatment, for example, tumor therapy has made great progress, particularly in recent years. Many patients benefit from new drugs and forms of treatment in terms of extending life span or significantly increasing chances of being cured. But because the effect of a drug differs from person to person, other patients may run out of time. If patients do not respond to any of the existing treatment methods, their hope for new drugs is correspondingly high. As understandable as it is to hope for an effective therapy, patients’ health can be endangered by adverse reactions and side effects. Therefore, it is essential to have tested for drug safety before treatments are approved for market. Clinical trials are thus concerned with recording and evaluating findings on the efficacy and safety of a new active substance or a new form of therapy: How does a drug actually work? Does it work better than other, already available drugs or combination therapies? Is it better tolerated? What side effects may occur?
Developing drugs more efficiently through digitalization
When it comes to researching drug effects, digital methods of data collection and evaluation have an advantage. “Interlinked data sources improve drug development and can speed it up – right up to the point of approval. Patients can thus obtain the drugs they need more quickly,” says Hanno Haertlein, managing director of Alcedis. The company, headquartered in Giessen, is itself part of this digitalization of medical research. It develops web-based software solutions for conducting clinical studies to record, prepare, forward and evaluate data. As a contract research organization, Alcedis offers all of the medical and scientific services required for the successful implementation of a clinical research project – from the entirety of planning, support of official approval processes and participating centers (e.g. university hospitals), data collection and analysis, and quality assurance all the way to statistical evaluation and reporting.
Big Data in medicine
Alcedis: International research expertise made in Giessen
Giessen, Germany’s Alcedis combines IT solutions with clinical studies. The company’s goal: to bring drugs to approval and make them accessible to doctors and patients. With additional locations in Hamburg and New York, Alcedis is a contract research organization that offers all medical and scientific services required for conducting a clinical study.