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J Clin Med Res. 2013 Jun;5(3):185-93. doi: 10.4021/jocmr1320w. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

Characteristics and Causes for Non-Accrued Clinical Research (NACR) at an Academic Medical Institution.

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1
Northwestern University, Institutional Review Board Office, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, Room 725I, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The impact of non-accrued clinical research (NACR) represents an important economic burden that is under consideration as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services looks into reforming the regulations governing IRB review. NACR refers to clinical research projects that fail to enroll subjects. A delineation of the issues surrounding NACR is expected to enhance subject accrual and to minimize occurrence of NACR. The authors assessed demographics, characteristics, and reasons for NACR at an academic medical center, including time trends, funding source, research team (principal investigator, department), IRB resource utilization (IRB level of review, number of required IRB reviews, initial IRB turn-around time, and duration of NACR).

METHODS:

The authors analyzed data from 848 clinical research study closures during 2010 and 2011 to determine proportion, incidence, and characteristics of NACR. Studies with subject enrollment during the same time period were used as a comparative measure.

RESULTS:

Data from 704 (83.0%) study closures reported enrollment of 1 or more subjects while 144 (17.0 %) reported NACR (zero enrollment). PI-reported reasons for NACR included: 32 (22.2%) contract or funding issues; 43 (30.0%) insufficient study-dedicated resources; 41 (28.4%) recruitment issues; 17 (11.8%) sponsor-initiated study closure and 11 (7.6%) were "other/reason unreported".

CONCLUSIONS:

NACR is not uncommon, affecting about one in six clinical research projects in the study population and reported to be more common in some other institutions. The complex and fluid nature of research conduct, non-realistic enrollment goals, and delays in both the approval and/or accrual processes contribute to NACR. Results suggest some simple strategies that investigators and institutions may use to reduce NACR, including careful feasibility assessment, reduction of institutional delays, and prompt initiation of subject accrual for multi-center studies using competitive enrollment. Institutional action to support investigators in the conduct clinical research is also encouraged to reduce likelihood of NACR.

KEYWORDS:

Accrual; Clinical research; Recruitment issues

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