Bringing the Clinical Trials Community Together

A message from Susan Marlin, President & CEO, Clinical Trials Ontario

A successful clinical trial depends on collaboration and a shared vision. Everyone involved – from primary investigators to industry partners to participants – is exchanging knowledge and working together toward the common goal of advancing treatment and improving care. The collaborative dynamic within a single study also reflects how we operate as a clinical trials community. Although we are a vast and diverse group, we don’t exist in silos and we rely on one another to keep medical advancements moving forward.

Clinical Trials Ontario’s mission is to strengthen the environment for high-quality clinical trials and one way we accomplish this is by facilitating productive discussion and collaboration at our annual conference, taking place this year from March 24-25 in Toronto. Unique in Canada, this forum brings the clinical trials community together in one room for two days of conversation about the key challenges faced by our sector as well as the emerging opportunities and significant innovations that can help us overcome those challenges. Each year, delegate surveys have noted the value of these conversations and they also help to inform the work of CTO.

The inaugural CTO conference took place in March 2014 and was attended by 200 delegates. A major theme that year was working together to establish an effective system for streamlined ethics review. Since then, CTO Stream has become a vital resource in our clinical trials community with more than 100 sites and nearly 1,000 studies using the platform. In 2017, patient and the public engagement with clinical trials was a central topic at the conference. That discussion, which included the announcement of CTO’s Patient and Public Advisory Group, helped to inform our direction to collaborate with health charities and patient organizations and build new tools and resources including the Clinical Trial Finder.

Now it its sixth year, the CTO conference has grown significantly, drawing nearly 500 delegates, more than 40 speakers, and many new opportunities for knowledge sharing and networking, including a pre-conference workshop, an exhibition space for innovators, an industry networking event and more. This year, we are thrilled to see that a number of groups and cross-provincial networks are leveraging the conference as an opportunity to host meetings.

Our conversations at the 2020 conference will focus on important areas, including cannabis clinical trials, the role of blockchain and AI, Canada’s leadership in genomics, changing market conditions and policies, privacy and ethics, open science drug discovery and regulatory updates from Health Canada – just to name a few.

In Ontario and across Canada we benefit from a network of world-leading research professionals and institutions and there is an incredible amount of skill and knowledge in our community. We need to tap into that knowledge, collaborate and capitalize on emerging opportunities if we are going to continue competing with other clinical trials jurisdictions and deliver new therapies for patients and the public. That’s what CTO conference is all about and we hope to see you there in March 2020.

To register for #CTO2020, visit:

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