The ScanBalt Clinical Research Network project, launched in March 2005, was successfully finished in April 2006. The ScanBalt Clinical Research Network was a pilot project, funded by Nordic innovation Center, which overall aim was to give added value to the vision of ScanBalt BioRegion: to be a globally competitive meta-region. Two main objectives of the project were:
1. to map the resources and competencies of clinical research in the region;
2. to identify the persons for continued activities in the network.
As a result of the project completed mapping of competencies and resources in the field of pre-clinical research, clinical trials, and mobile ICT solutions for conducting clinical trials was carried out. Based on this a database with search engine for competencies and partners was created (available at www.scanbalt.org/factfile-c). The general result of the project indicated that all parties involved found the clinical network important and useful. On the other hand it was not easy to find persons that are willing to take active role in setting up really working network. Substantial efforts and financial resources are needed in order create a fully working network structure. CRO-s seems to have a theoretical conflict of interest as investigator network are often main proprietary asset of the company.
Nevertheless, it has been widely recognized the ScanBalt Bioregion countries and regions to be too small on their own to be able to supply large enough trial groups. Number of governments (for example UK) has initiated strategic projects to improve their position on the global clinical research arena. Mutual cooperation based on the well organized network will potentially improve ScanBalt Bioregions position in clinical research industry.
The vision of the follow-up proof of concept project to the ScanBalt Clinical Research Network pilot project is to set up a working patient recruitment network in the ScanBalt region embracing one disease area - diabetes. The new organization will be based on the interconnection network of academic clinical research infrastructures, hospitals and industry.
This diabetes network has to provide effective and efficient infrastructure for prompt recruitment and clinical trial management: legally and organizationally sound tool for electronic selection of patients from different clinical databases and research sites, efficient system for obtaining approvals by ethics committees and obtaining informed consent from participants, appropriate management IT tool for conducting clinical trials and securing the quality of trials.
The Estonian Genome Project Foundation in cooperation with Tartu Biotechnology Park and Sahlgrenska University Hospital has started to select partners as well to design general outline for this proof of principle project. The proof of concept project, if successful, can be stepwise extended to other therapeutic areas as well as to widen the partnership with other European regions.
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