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Staff (Retired)
DIA: Seeing What's Next in Clinical Trials and Standards

I look forward to attending the Drug Information Association (DIA) conference each year. Of course, it’s fun to meet up with old friends, make new ones and see how much junk I can tote home. But each year, I also come away amazed at the trends and advances the industry is making and enjoy discovering just how quickly things continue to change.

Of course, there has been the electronic, get-it-now, share-it-with-everyone wave that is now just a common way of doing business. So as I rode the escalator down to the exhibit floor, I felt like I was entering the “what are we all about” zone for this year. As I descended, I saw the usual banners and rotating logos flying over the many smaller booths, with the claims of “team work, “safety,” “results” and “speed of life.” It seems that the smaller booths take care of the business of running clinical trials. But what about those big banners in the rafters...what are they all about?

Over the years, we’ve been moving in one direction – toward standards. How do we take all of this data, standardize it, share it and use that standard fare to speed up the analytical/discovery process? It’s not an easy job dismantling the Tower of Babel, and we are far from speaking a common language. But for some of us, it’s an intriguing spectator sport to watch the various players offer a way forward and then see who is following.

One of these players is JMP, a division of SAS and my employer. JMP is showing off the newest member of its life sciences portfolio, JMP Clinical software, whose release was announced at DIA. JMP Clinical is highly interactive, utilizes CDISC standards and provides remarkable insight into the volumes of data collected in clinical trials and the ability to improve communications between various teams during the analysis and review process. It has the analytic power you expect from SAS, with CDISC standards built in to boot.

We’re hoping that medical reviewers, data monitors and others will find JMP Clinical indispensable for helping make medications safer and for streamlining the drug development process. Considering that Product Manager Geoff Mann is just now getting a chance to eat lunch at 2:57 p.m., it’s apparently generating a lot of early interest. In the next couple of days, I look forward to exploring the floor at DIA to see other new technology that will help define the industry and indicate where we’re headed next.

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