Trial discontinuation: lessons for future trial design?

Author(s): Veerle JAA Nuij, Colin J de Haar & C Janneke van der Woude

Background: The current therapeutic arsenal still does not fulfill the therapeutic needs of inflammatory bowel disease patients. Although new drugs are constantly being developed, many will never reach the market. In this review we will search for reasons for discontinuing promising clinical trials and offer recommendation for future trials. Methods: The website clinicaltrials.gov was searched for interventional trials on novel inflammatory bowel disease therapies. Included were discontinued ‘Crohn’s disease’ and/or ‘colitis, ulcerative’ trials, started between July 1996 and October 2011 and discontinued. Pubmed was searched for publications to elucidate reasons for discontinuation. Results: One hundred and ninety one novel drug trials were published on clinicaltrials.gov, of which 24 (12.6%) were interrupted. The most common reason for discontinuation was lack of efficacy. Conclusion: Translation from bench to bedside is not always feasible, animal models come with restrictions. For better treatments, personalized medicine will be the future.