New research at Clemson University could help save billions of dollars on drug development, bring treatments to market more quickly and save the lives of patients who might otherwise be assigned to inferior treatments.
Amin Khademi, an assistant professor of industrial engineering told South Carolina Radio Network that drug companies want to show the federal government that the new drugs are better and safer. “They actually want to prove to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) that new drug is more effective and less toxicity,” Khademi said.
Khademi aims to help researchers identify which treatments in clinical trials are most effective as early as possible and make adjustments accordingly. He plans to do it with a highly advanced mathematical technique called “stochastic dynamic programing.”
It would be an improvement over traditional clinical trials, which are comparatively inflexible, Khademi said. Traditional trials hinder innovation in design and analysis, so they take longer, cost more and expose patients to inferior experimental therapies, he added.
“Even a one-percent improvement on average translates to annual savings on the order of billions of dollars,” he said. “It would be a transformative innovation, providing more patients with greater access to treatment at a lower cost.”
While clinical trials help determine the risks and benefits of new treatments, they are becoming more expensive. Developing a new prescription medicine that gains market approval takes more than a decade and costs about $2.6 billion, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.
Khademi will conduct this research over five years with a $500,000 award through the National Science Foundation’s Early Career Development Program.