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Traverse News

The Impact of Synthetic Control Arms on Efficiency, Cost, and Design

Revolutionizing Clinical Trials: The Impact of Synthetic Control Arms on Efficiency, Cost, and Design

Clinical trials are vital for validating the safety and effectiveness of new medical treatments. However, they often face significant challenges such as high costs, long durations, and difficulties in patient recruitment. These challenges can be particularly acute in situations where potential participants may receive a placebo instead of a treatment, which can deter participation. Synthetic control arms (SCAs) present a revolutionary solution by using existing real-world data (RWD) to simulate control groups, potentially transforming the design and efficiency of clinical trials.

What Are Synthetic Control Arms?

Synthetic control arms utilize data from sources like electronic health records (EHRs), past clinical trials, and disease registries to create a comparator group for clinical trials without enrolling new control patients. This method can significantly reduce the number of participants needed, expedite trials, and reduce overall costs.

Benefits of Synthetic Control Arms

  1. Increased Efficiency and Reduced Costs: SCAs reduce the need for patient recruitment for control groups, lowering both the time and cost of trials.
  2. Ethical Advantages: By ensuring all participants receive potentially beneficial treatment rather than a placebo, SCAs can make trials more appealing to participants and ethically sound, especially in life-threatening conditions.
  3. Enhanced Data Integrity: SCAs help maintain the integrity of the trial by minimizing the risk of bias introduced through participant dropout or unblinding.

Case Study: Pralsetinib in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

A recent study employed an SCA to assess the effectiveness of pralsetinib, a treatment for RET fusion-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (aNSCLC). This SCA, based on RWD, was used to compare pralsetinib with pembrolizumab monotherapy and pembrolizumab combined with chemotherapy. The study demonstrated a relative survival benefit of pralsetinib and provided robust comparative effectiveness data, highlighting the potential of SCAs in supporting regulatory decisions. To learn more, read this article in Nature Communications.

Challenges and Considerations

While SCAs offer significant advantages, they require careful implementation to ensure data validity and reliability. They are most effective when diseases are predictable and treatment standards are well-defined. Additionally, the data quality and the methodology used to integrate RWD into SCAs are crucial for their success.

Regulatory and Ethical Considerations

Regulatory bodies such as the FDA have begun to accept SCAs under certain conditions, recognizing their potential to provide robust comparative effectiveness data. Ethical considerations, particularly around the use of patient data, are paramount, and measures must be in place to ensure data anonymity and consent where necessary.

Future of Synthetic Control Arms

As medical data collection and analytical methodologies continue to improve, the use of SCAs is expected to increase, particularly in fields like oncology and rare diseases where patient recruitment is challenging.

Explore the Future with Traverse Health

At Traverse Health, we specialize in integrating synthetic control arms into clinical trials, optimizing study designs, and improving the speed and cost-efficiency of bringing new therapies to market. If you're considering how SCAs can benefit your research, contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help enhance your clinical trials.
Case Studies