Trial Innovation Network at Wake Forest
Taking Multi-Site Clinical Trials to the Next Level
What Is TIN?
TIN is the Trial Innovation Network, which streamlines clinical trials and harnesses the collective power of NCATS-funded institutions. As NCATS explains, TIN creates a “national network that focuses on operational innovation, excellence and collaboration and will leverage the expertise and resources of the CTSA Program.” Of the 62 CTSAs nationwide, Wake Forest, Duke and UNC form the triad of CTSA hubs in North Carolina. Wake Forest’s TIN program leaders are Selvin Ohene, Director of the Office of Clinical Research, and Cheryl Bushnell, MD, professor of Neurology.
Ohene says that industry-funded clinical trials have taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic, but grant-funded clinical trials and COVID-19-focused clinical trials have buoyed the School of Medicine in this season. As NCATS Director Christopher Austin, M.D., has reported, “The rapid expansion of these [COVID-19] clinical trials demonstrates how nimbly the network of CTSA Program hubs and the TIN can respond to the nation’s research needs and shorten the path from discovery to treatment.”
Multi-Site Study Opportunities
Wake currently has many active COVID-19 studies, some which came directly through the network. “TIN has been charged with collating opportunities related to COVID-19 on behalf of all the CTSA hubs,” Ohene says. “…they've been able to organize these opportunities for us in a way that we can digest them as a site to figure out which opportunities are best for our patients… I don't think that we would have had access to ACTIV-1 had we not been a TIN member site.”
Taking Your Research to the Next Level
Bushnell reports Wake Forest’s participation in national trials gives increased visibility and opportunity. “It really benefits both faculty and the institution.” But from another angle, Bushnell focuses on the network being the perfect resource for early- or mid-career researchers ready to advance their research—whether to increase NIH-scoring of study readiness or engage in multi-site clinical trials at a national scale. TIN increases the success of these endeavors by refining study design before funding submissions and through opening up the network of potential collaborating CTSA sites.
Bushnell asks researchers, “Are you interested in taking your study to the next level? You've got preliminary data from your pilot study, maybe it's time to think about NIH or other funding, that the TIN can provide you [consultation services] early on in the design process. They can help. They can also help once you already have a study funded and you need help with recruitment. So I think the multi-faceted services is truly a benefit.”