Published July 2, 2019
Medical researchers face numerous roadblocks as they plan and conduct clinical trials. But a national collaborative network is now paving the way for investigators to perform multi-site studies in better, faster and less expensive ways.
The Trial Innovation Network (TIN) is a collaborative effort within the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program designed to speed up the translation of new breakthroughs and interventions into life-saving strategies used in clinical settings.
“The goals of TIN and the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute are well aligned,” said Sanjay Sethi, MD, Director of the UB Clinical Research Office/TIN Liaison Medical Director. “These include to develop and implement innovative, collaborative solutions intended to transform clinical and translational research, especially multi-site clinical trials; and to promote the integration of special and underserved populations in translational research across the lifespan.“
TIN effectively creates a national laboratory in which investigators can collaborate on research. The TIN is made up of three components – the CTSA program hubs, of which UB’s CTSI is one; the Trial Innovation Center (TIC) and the Recruitment Innovation Center (RIC).
By using the network, researchers at CTSA institutions across the country can streamline research processes. The network offers a single Institutional Review Board for multicenter clinical studies. It also offers standard contracting and reliance agreements to maintain a fast and efficient workflow. It helps investigators to better focus on conducting evidence-based research and to recruit and engage participating patients.
According to Briana Getman, MSW, Clinical Recruitment Coordinator and TIN Liaison Point of Contact for UB’s CTSI, working with TIN is beneficial to investigators in two key ways.
First, UB teams looking to submit proposals for National Institutes of Health funding can request a TIN consultation for their own multi-site trials, getting feedback and guidance on study design, budget, recruitment and feasibility. The TIN may select the UB trial to implement across the network.
Second, UB investigators can be selected as a site investigator when other CTSA hubs are looking for sites at which to conduct their multicenter trials.
The network “provides an opportunity to use the resources and experience available at 50-plus CTSAs across the United States,” Sethi said. “If a UB investigator has a multi-site proposal that is in the planning phase, the TIN can provide a proposal review that can greatly enhance the quality of the proposal and increase its probability of funding. If the local investigator has a funded proposal, the TIN can be used to find sites to conduct the study within the CTSA.”
So far, three UB teams have been confirmed as primary investigators through the TIN system, Getman said.
Getman said UB investigators can benefit from the network’s single Institutional Review Board, which speeds up the timing of proposal approval while maintaining protections for participants. It also allows researchers to send out information about their proposal to other sites to get feedback, and find the best fit when seeking other participating sites.
The Recruitment Innovation Center, she said, helps investigators by providing assistance with NIH-funded studies, including brainstorming recruitment strategies and devising social media programs for spreading the word about clinical trials.
“The TIN abbreviates the amount of work investigators have to do to get a proposal approved, and helps set investigators up for success,” Getman said.
For more information about the Trial Innovation Network, contact Briana Getman, firstname.lastname@example.org.