Continued investigator engagement: Reasons principal investigators conduct multiple FDA-regulated drug trials.
Background/Aims: Numerous reasons have been identified for why U.S.-based principal investigators choose to not continue participating in FDA-regulated trials. However, unexplored are reasons why a substantial number of principal investigators, facing the same challenges, remain engaged in clinical research. This study aimed to both describe barriers and identify factors that contribute to active investigators' success in conducting multiple FDA-regulated trials. Methods: We conducted qualitative in-depth interviews (IDIs) with "active" multi-trial investigators. Interviews focused on investigators' experiences with FDA-regulated drug trials, challenges faced, and factors contributing to success. Investigators also reflected on previously identified barriers and shared advice for new investigators. Narratives were analyzed using applied thematic analysis. Results: We interviewed 23 experienced investigators, representing a variety of backgrounds. Most reported that demonstrated ability to conduct a trial led to being approached again by sponsors. Investigators cited infrastructure, staff support, advance planning, and personal qualities as key factors in successfully conducting multiple trials. Nearly all cited difficulties related to trial finances. Three-quarters pointed to challenges with patient recruitment; others described challenges related to data and safety reporting and to the time that trial implementation takes away from other activities. Aspiring investigators were advised to engage in research-specific training and seek out mentorship opportunities. Conclusion: Investigators in our sample faced many of the same challenges identified in previous research, yet they had evolved strategies to overcome them. The amount and type of support to which investigators have access may represent a crucial difference between "active" investigators and principal investigators who leave FDA-regulated trials.
Dombeck, CB; Hinkley, T; Fordyce, CB; Blanchard, K; Roe, MT; Corneli, A
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