Clinical Trials Ontario supports new clinical trials consortium to strengthen Canada’s clinical trials environment

Canada’s clinical trials environment is on track to become stronger and more connected than ever. New funding through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Clinical Trials Fund was announced today by the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. The $131M investment will support new clinical trials projects and training programs, as well as the new Accelerating Clinical Trials (ACT) Consortium, the first national clinical trials consortium of its kind in Canada.

Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO), one of many organizations across the country focused on improving the clinical trials environment and attracting more trial activity to Canada, is proud to be a key partner in the newly launched ACT Consortium, which will accelerate, optimize, and facilitate national clinical trials and Canadian participation in international trials. Representing CTO at the launch of the ACT Consortium today were Susan Marlin, President and CEO of CTO, and Dawn Richards, Director of Patient and Public Engagement at CTO.

“For some time now, we’ve recognized that for Canada to realize its potential for conducting clinical trials, we all have to work together across the country. We are thrilled to be working with the ACT Consortium that will bring together organizations and individuals across Canada to improve the environment for conducting clinical trials for the benefit of patients in Canada and beyond,” Susan Marlin, President and CEO of CTO, who is a member of the ACT Operations Committee and Co-Chair of the ACT Research Ethics Committee.

The ACT Consortium is a 250-person team made up of clinical trial units, research networks, provincial organizations, government and Canadian biotechnology organizations. It is led by a 12-person Operations Committee with two co-chairs, Dr. P. J. Devereaux of McMaster University and Dr. Guy Rouleau at McGill. Other members of the Operations Committee include Susan Marlin, Wayne Clark, Dean Fergusson, Amit Garg, Jeremy Grimshaw, Valerie Harvey, Corinne Hohl, Catherine Joyes, Emily McDonald, Louise Pilote, Stuart Nicholls, and Lawrence Richer.

A major project of the ACT Consortium will be to improve the national ethics approval process, and CTO will support this effort through its experience and success with the CTO Stream program. The ACT Consortium will also simplify randomized control trial contracts, create efficient data sources, explore novel trial designs, and invest in evaluating Canadian biotechnology. In each of these activities there will be a focus on patient engagement and the lived experience. Through these activities the Consortium will support equitable access, participation, and information-sharing.

“As someone who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for over 20 years, I know that clinical trials lead to improved health outcomes and are extremely important to patients, caregivers, and all people who live in Canada. I am pleased to see the focus on patient engagement that will be part of the ACT Consortium. I look forward to seeing the work of the Consortium unfold over the coming years, and how patients and their lived experience will inform and contribute to its success,” Dawn Richards, Director of Patient and Public Engagement at CTO.

Read the full press release from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) here.

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