A patient speaking with a physician.

Let’s broaden the scope of personalized trials

Patient-centric treatment approaches could improve research and care.

By Karina Davidson, PhD, MedPage Today

Every new drug, device, or medical strategy needs to be studied to test its safety and efficacy, which — as physicians and researchers know — is primarily done through large rigorous, and often randomized, clinical trials.

But are these trials the right way to understand and collect data on individual responses to treatment?

Another study method, personalized trials, holds the potential to deliver truly tailored, patient-centric treatments while allowing investigators to collect robust and meaningful scientific data.

When you hear the term “personalized trial” as a researcher or clinician, you may default to thinking of them as reserved for rare diseases. However, they are similarly useful for conditions where various interventions offer differential benefit to patients. Personalized trials are designed to address the question: What is the best treatment for this one patient?

Several of my colleagues and I are advocating for broader use of personalized trials, both for rare illnesses where no treatment exists and for more common conditions for which multiple treatments but little comparable data on efficacy are available. Read more …