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Free Content Adaptive clinical trials in tuberculosis: applications, challenges and solutions

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Drug development for tuberculosis (TB) faces numerous practical obstacles, including the need for combination treatment with at least three drugs, reliance on possibly unrepresentative animal models which may not reproduce key features of human disease and the lack of a well-validated surrogate endpoint for stable cure. Pivotal Phase III trials are large, lengthy and expensive, and the funding and capacity to conduct them are limited worldwide. More rational methods for the selection of priority regimens for Phase III are urgently needed to avoid costly late-stage failures. We examine the suitability of adaptive clinical trial designs for drug development in TB, focusing on designs for Phase IIB and III trials, where we believe the biggest gains in efficiency can be made. Key areas that may be addressed by such designs are improvements in the selection of doses and combinations of drugs in early clinical development and in maximising the power of confirmatory trials in multidrug-resistant TB, where patient numbers and complexity pose practical limitations. We encourage trialists and regulators in this area to consider the advantages that may be offered by these designs and their potential to more effectively and rapidly identify better treatment regimens for TB patients worldwide.
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Keywords: drug development; sequential trials; statistics; tuberculosis

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Institutes of Infection and Global Health and Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK 2: Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, London, UK 3: Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Lancaster, Lancaster, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on lung health world-wide.

    To share scientific research of immediate concern as rapidly as possible, The Union is fast-tracking the publication of certain articles from the IJTLD and publishing them on The Union website, prior to their publication in the Journal. Read fast-track articles.

    Certain IJTLD articles are also selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. These are available on the Union website.

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