A framework for applying unfamiliar trial designs in studies of rare diseases
ABSTRACT Rare diseases may be difficult to study through conventional research methods, but are amenable to study through certain uncommonly used designs. We sought to explain these designs and to provide a framework to assist researchers in identifying the most appropriate design for a given research question.
We systematically searched for literature describing rare disease research frameworks, trial designs, and trials that applied them. We present the advantages and disadvantages of each approach using these published examples, and a practical framework to help researchers in selecting between design choices.
When research participants are limited, researchers should consider using: 1) a crossover design; 2) n-of-1 trials; or 3) one of the following adaptive designs: a) a response-adaptive randomization design, b) a ranking and selection design, c) an internal pilot design,or d) a sequential design. Bayesian analysis may be applied to conventional designs, or to any of these uncommon designs. Several of these approaches may also be used in combination. The choice between methods should be guided by factors related to the intervention, disease,anticipated recruitment duration and success, and current state of knowledge about the treatment.
These techniques may facilitate research in rare diseases.
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ABSTRACT: Evidence from clinical trials should contribute to informed decision making and a learning health care system. People frequently, however, find participating in clinical trials meaningless or disempowering. Moreover, people often do not incorporate trial results directly into their decision making. The lack of patient centeredness in clinical trials may be partially addressed through trial design. For example, Bayesian adaptive trials designed to adjust in a prespecified manner to changes in clinical practice could motivate people and their health care providers to view clinical trials as more applicable to real-world clinical decisions. The way in which clinical trials are designed can transform the evidence generation process to be more patient centered, providing people with an incentive to participate or continue participating in clinical trials. To achieve the transformation to patient-centeredness in clinical trial decisions, however, there is a need for transparent and reliable methods and education of trial investigators and site personnel.Value in Health 06/2014; 17(4). DOI:10.1016/j.jval.2014.02.012
- Circulation Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology 10/2012; 5(5):882-3. DOI:10.1161/CIRCEP.112.977454
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ABSTRACT: Across all areas of health care, decision makers are in pursuit of what Berwick and colleagues have called the “triple aim”: improving patient experiences with care, improving health outcomes, and managing health system impacts. This is challenging in a rare disease context, as exemplified by inborn errors of metabolism. There is a need for evaluative outcomes research to support effective and appropriate care for inborn errors of metabolism. We suggest that such research should consider interventions at both the level of the health system (e.g., early detection through newborn screening, programs to provide access to treatments) and the level of individual patient care (e.g., orphan drugs, medical foods). We have developed a practice-based evidence framework to guide outcomes research for inborn errors of metabolism. Focusing on outcomes across the triple aim, this framework integrates three priority themes: tailoring care in the context of clinical heterogeneity; a shift from “urgent care” to “opportunity for improvement”; and the need to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of emerging and established therapies. Guided by the framework, a new Canadian research network has been established to generate knowledge that will inform the design and delivery of health services for patients with inborn errors of metabolism and other rare diseases. Genet Med 2013:15(6):415–422Genetics in medicine: official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics 12/2012; 15(6). DOI:10.1038/gim.2012.153