Cointelegraph CN: “Triall uses blockchain to realize the future of clinical trials.”

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Last week, Triall featured on Cointelegraph China. The article, written by Chinese journalist Anderson Li, explains how Triall aims to tackle some of the persistent issues currently felt by the clinical trial industry using targeted integrations with blockchain.

Please find below an English translation of the interview (translated by our team members). The original Chinese version of the article can be found by following this link.

In an era where data is king, how does Triall use blockchain technology to realize the future of digital healthcare?

There is no doubt that the global spread of the coronavirus has put the world’s leading countries in a vaccine race. Hundreds of coronavirus vaccines are under development, some of which are already in clinical trials.

The development and implementation of new corona vaccines proves that bringing new medicines to the market does not always require the conventional 10 years of clinical research. The importance of the clinical trial industry is more evident than ever now and the new coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of this industry.

The traditional clinical trial industry is full of pain points
Many people do not know that before a new drug is approved for public use, it first needs to go through a series of rigorous so-called clinical trials to test the safety and effectiveness of the new drug reagent in the human body. This process usually takes around 10 years and involves large amounts of data, where data accuracy and authenticity can be compromised for various reasons. For example, many pharmaceutical companies, service providers, and hospitals lack oversight over their clinical trial operations, which inevitably leads to various issues such as resource-inefficiencies and delays. As a result, the introduction of new medicines and treatments to patients is delayed. In summary, the clinical trial industry is currently hampered by the lengthy timeline of data collection, lack of oversight and interoperability, difficulties in recordkeeping, data integrity issues, and difficulties with finding the right partners.

Clinical research involves the systematic evaluation of candidate medical solutions in clinical trials. A novel medical solutions often requires 10 years of rigorous and standardized clinical trials to get to the patient. Access to pathogenic samples, data, and information required for clinical research can only be shared after publication of a scientific article or patent. Each clinical trial involves multiple stakeholders, which often span various organizations and geographical areas. During the entire clinical trial, these stakeholders need to interact in a wide range of trial-related activities, from research approval to on-site monitoring, regulatory filing, and research dissemination. Therefore, stakeholders experience difficulties with safeguarding data integrity, auditability, collaboration and oversight over the trial’s timeline.  

How can blockchain technology empower the traditional clinical trial industry?
A long development path is not always necessary, and to a certain extent, can be explained by ‘regulatory hurdles.’There are clear opportunities for increasing efficiency, even outside epidemic emergencies or pandemic situations, as long as these do not compromise on patient safety and scientific integrity. To this end, data and documents must be recorded and time-stamped with a high level of precision and tamper-resistance.

Triall, a company that develops blockchain-enabled solutions for clinical trials, responds directly to this need by making clinical trial activities more verifiable and auditable using targeted integrations with blockchain.

Triall’s co-founder and marketing director Raymond van der Waal shared in an interview: “Some of the other co-founders and I worked at a company called CR2O, a full-service clinical contract research organization (CRO) that specialized in managing clinical trials. It’s in those early days that the idea for Triall was born. While studying blockchain, we realized that this technology’s unique properties could be used to tackle several recurring issues and inefficiencies in clinical trials.”

Blockchain can help solve the core pain points of the industry by promoting the privacy, immutability, and verifiability of the data, identities, rules, and record involved in various clinical research activities. By leveraging blockchain, Triall aims to make clinical trials smarter, safer, and more-efficient, thereby accelerating the execution of clinical trials. The targeted software solutions developed by Triall use vertical blockchain integrations to improve data integrity, auditability, and operational efficiency in clinical trials.

Triall is the first company to implement blockchain in real-world clinical trial settings, and is now supported by an international partner network and a global advisory board consisting of industry experts and key opinion leaders. Triall’s first application is a blockchain-integrated document management solution that enables researchers to create verifiable proofs of their clinical trial documents’ existence and integrity. These document records provide patients, health authorities, and regulatory agencies with greater assurance of clinical trial data integrity and authenticity.

How does Triall work?
The clinical trial software market is rapidly growing due to the digitalization and globalization of clinical research. Many industry stakeholders are currently switching from general solutions to advanced, dedicated applications. So how does Triall fit in this picture?

Currently, Triall is building the world’s first blockchain-enabled clinical research ecosystem that provides software solutions and APIs for all industry professionals involved in clinical trials. Triall aims to use the advantages of blockchain technology to truly add value, by promoting trust, research data integrity, auditability, and system interoperability. Their initiative is geared towards solving many persistent problems that make medical innovation complex, lengthy, and resource inefficient.

Triall envisions the world’s first online environment that is inclusive to all types of clinical research professionals—regardless of function, budget, or organizational type. From first-time PhD researchers to experienced industry professionals, from pharmacist to research nurse, Triall is committed to optimizing and simplifying clinical operations for all. 

Their online environment is managed by the non-profit Triall Foundation, which is responsible for the development, management, and maintenance of the ecosystem and its functionalities. This foundation hopes to reinvest any future excess income in the clinical community through incubator and charity schemes.

Next to providing off-the-shelf solutions that meet industry needs, Triall aims to create an environment in which novel initiatives from the community are supported and facilitated to thrive. This makes Triall function as a true clinical trial ecosystem, and, at the same time, enables them to provide solutions tailored to the specific needs of the clinical research community.

Triall solutions are currently integrated with the Factom protocol, an open-source data integrity protocol that is fully optimized for enterprise adoption and has a track-record of industrial and governmental applications. Integrating with Factom has provided Triall with network strength and security right from the start.

IBM’s Ebadollahi believes that “supporting patients’ informed consent and data exchange using blockchain can fundamentally change the way medical services are provided, enabling relevant parties to retrieve patients’ vertical health data at any time, thereby opening the door to new treatment methods.” 

Triall will undoubtedly turn this vision into a reality. Although blockchain technology is still a novel concept, it has become one of the catalysts for the paradigm shift in the healthcare services industry. Triall has created a precedent for the clinical trial industry, using blockchain solutions to provide new growth opportunities for clinical research.

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