When it comes to the evolution of clinical trials, the good news is that there is still room for a vast amount of improvement; the even better news is that the technology to enable improvement is already in existence. To simplify, the desired result of any clinical trial is reproducibility at every stage, therefore, every stage must be taken into account. The starting point is Artificial Intelligence (AI) which will be veined throughout every phase, improving accessibility, remote dosage systems, adherence and drug design.
We begin at the crucial and neglected drug discovery phase, which when honed, will allow other phases to smoothly bleed into one another. Here evolved AI will improve the drug design algorithm, massive mathematical extrapolations which predict efficacy and safety. In the future evolved AI will predict interactions and safety to the epigenetic level for even the most basic compound with a negligible margin-of-error; this will lead to highly desirable virtual trials, predicting and providing patient data for the outcome of each phase.
Lab-on-a-chip systems will be utilised as organ- and disease-on-a-chip systems for in-vitro studies. Reproducibility at every stage of the trial is key so there is no way to cut out animal studies, however, we can minimise this stage by improving drug design and discovery phases to a negligible margin of error. As lab-on-a-chip systems evolve, animal health phases will shorten. Fewer animals will also be used as highly-evolved transgenic-organisms come into existence, becoming the new phase 0, moving almost unnoticeably into human studies.
Remote trials will be a must economically and for hard to reach rural communities. Progressive remote trials will prove the breakthrough for indigenous disease and illnesses prevalent in the third-world such as Malaria and Ebola. Cybernetics and the Internet of Things will be utilised here via implanted lab-on-a-chips and smart home hives, which can piggy back onto the massive servers contained in trilateral satellite systems to relay big data sets back to clinical trial centres.
These implanted lab-on-a-chips or ‘lab-tags’ will monitor all vital signs, provide automatic dosage, ensure 100% patient adherence, and will leave the patient with the bare minimum amount to do as smart home systems relay all records and reactions to the clinical trial centre via satellite systems. Patients can opt for telehealth contact with medical teams or opt out, only contacting the clinical trial centre when they feel it is necessary. These hives can also be provided cost-effectively in the field, perhaps using solar-powered versions or converting satellite phones to smart house receiver apps.
If a patient prefers not to have a ‘lab-tag’ system implanted they can opt for irremovable tags, much like the ankle tags used by law enforcement today. These irremovable, non-invasive wearables will consist of a slow release patch and vital signs monitoring system, once again integrating into the smart home hive and satellite trilateral systems, which house arrest tags already use.
Hologram-based examination systems providing high-definition views of internal organs can also be utilised for examinations. For remote countries low-cost driverless ‘ambulance drones’ can be mobilised to rush anyone to the nearest field hospital or town if emergency care is needed, alerted by smart hive-satellite systems.
The exciting aspect of these predictions is that they are just the beginning in clinical trial innovations and fully viable. According to this premise, previously unknown technology could originate within only 5-10 years. This is a truly remarkable thought and I can’t wait to see, how we, the human race further ourselves in the next few years.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations and the Health Innovator community. She has worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years which includes time within the NHS and Oxford University. An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within the health sector. You can follow her on Twitter at @shelleypetersen.
Healthinnovations, founded in 2010, reports on future innovation in medical research and can be found on multiple platforms. Healthinnovations is now an established part of the global reporting system on whitepaper validation and verification, a virtual research project highway involving the medical community worldwide.