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Assessing the Canadian Landscape for Cancer Research

Canada’s world-class researchers and diverse patient population make it one of the top 6 countries in the world for enrollment of clinical trial patients according to the FDA’s global clinical trial report. With a population of 37 million, this ranking indicates that Canada has a disproportionately large number of patients willing to participate in global studies.

Top-Quality Data

Canada is associated with the production of top-quality data in global studies. Success in this department can be attributed in part to the Canadian government’s ongoing financial support which is helping staff Canada’s oncology clinical research centers. Fifty of which are part of Scimega’s active network, with top global talent that foster this country’s solid reputation for research in clinical medicine, biomedicine, and science and technology.

Consistently High Enrollment

In addition to the quality of data coming from Canada, the country is one of the most efficient at overcoming barriers to enrolling patients; placing it among the top 4 countries in North America and Western Europe known to be the quickest to enroll patients following trial site initiation.

Canada’s success in patient recruitment is the result of a few key factors, including: universal, free access to healthcare; a diverse patient population; a positive public perception of clinical trials; and a vast national network for disease treatment.

Universal access to free healthcare – is due primarily to Canada’s publicly-funded healthcare system and the distribution of the population. In general, Canadian residents seek medical care more readily than their counterparts in privately-funded healthcare systems without the worries about cost or insurance restrictions to do so. Furthermore, nearly two thirds of Canadians (78%) live within 160 kilometers (about 100 miles) of the U.S. border. This makes it easy to access publicly-funded healthcare. As a result, Canadian PIs have access to a large patient population despite the country’s population size.

An additional factor that gives Canadian PIs an advantage with respect to patient enrollment is the diversity of the patient population. Canada is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. This aids Canadian PIs to readily recruit a broad and diverse range of patients for global studies. Although this does not necessarily result in a higher absolute number of patients enrolled, it does provide diverse representation in global studies. A factor that usually results in improved safety profiles for potential drug candidates.

Public perception of clinical trials in Canada is the third factor that contributes to the success of Canadian PIs when it comes to patient enrollment. Surveys show that Canadians perceive clinical trials to be positive because of the societal and personal benefits they provide. Researchers have found that most Canadians are somewhat (49%) or very willing (19%) to participate in clinical trials.

Yet another factor that contributes to Canadian PIs’ success in patient enrollment is the vast disease treatment networks that allow PIs to coordinate research across multiple centers of expertise. These networks use provincial and national patient databases maintained by government agencies such as Cancer Care Ontario in order to connect medical experts and patients to clinical trials; in turn, Canadian PIs are able to easily screen and find suitable patients for participation in their global studies.

The Caveat – Choose the Right Partner for Your Study in Canada

After all this discussion of the reasons why Canada is a prime location for global studies, the proof is really in the numbers. Canada’s recruitment success rate in clinical trials is reported to be 98%, with sites in Canada that have as much as 22% of their total patient population participating in clinical trials.

That said, while the landscape in Canada is generally quite favorable to the success of global studies, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the factors that make Canadian PIs some of the top patient enrollers, nor does it always translate into enrollment success for every study.

Unsurprisingly, enrollment success can vary from study-to-study, which is why it is vital for clinical trial sponsors to be selective about who they partner with in order to recruit patients for their global studies. Specialized CROs with local expertise that can leverage the disease treatment networks effectively are often most successful at connecting Canadian PIs to the most relevant studies for the patient population they serve.

More than ever Drug Developers want access to sites that can deliver on their promises of rapid FPI (first patient in study) and patient enrollment milestones. They need a niche oncology CRO with established site relationships in Canada who can provide accurate study feasibility and viability assessments.

Operational efficiency and communication, clean, accurate data to meet deadlines and move projects forward quickly in a world where agility has become an important driver for success are key.

Sound yet adaptable processes to ensure a nimble response, with a high-quality standard and operation oversight of CRA activities and internal Quality Management activities is critical.  And of course, steady and high enrollments rates thanks to the selection of the right sites for your study design, along with a keen ability to engage oncologists and site teams at the highest level.

Interested in Learning More About the Canadian Opportunity?

At Scimega, we are proud to say that the sites and Canadian PIs we work with are often top enrollers in the global oncology studies on which we collaborate with Sponsors.

As a niche Canadian CRO acting in Canada for the conduct of global cutting-edge oncology trials sponsored by small to mid-size biotechs, our team is skilled in collaborative vendor teaming. With a proven track record of 25 years unparalleled Canadian oncology experience Scimega guarantees sponsors the quickest site start-up and highest patient recruitment rate, without sacrificing premium quality data. With an optimal operations design robust enough to address an ever-changing clinical trial landscape, Scimega’s team of oncology experts go above-and-beyond for your study to provide:

  • Identification and qualification of the right Canadian sites for your trial within just a few weeks thanks to our extensive network of Canadian Investigators. 
  • Site activation in Canada 50% faster than the industry average for global studies. 
  • Optimal site engagement to maximize quality, timely data entry and query resolution; and minimize the impact of site staff turnover on study progress. 
  • In global oncology studies our Canadian sites frequently emerge among the top enrollers.

 Our oncology experts work with your team to devise innovative solutions specific to the unique challenges of your oncology clinical trial. If you’re interested in learning more about the Canadian opportunity, explore an expansion with us!

   Contributed byJulie Martin, CEO & co-Owner

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