Declining Enrolment and Other Challenges in IBD Clinical Trials: Causes and Potential Solutions Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Background Rates of enrolment in clinical trials in inflammatory bowel disease [IBD] have decreased dramatically in recent years. This has led to delays, increased costs and failures to develop novel treatments. Aims The aim of this work is to describe the current bottlenecks of IBD clinical trial enrolment and propose solutions. Methods A taskforce comprising experienced IBD clinical trialists from academic centres and pharmaceutical companies involved in IBD clinical research predefined the four following levels: [1] study design, [2] investigative centre, [3] physician and [4] patient. At each level, the taskforce collectively explored the reasons for declining enrolment rates and generated an inventory of potential solutions. Results The main reasons identified included the overall increased demands for trials, the high screen failure rates, particularly in Crohn’s disease, partly due to the lack of correlation between clinical and endoscopic activity, and the use of complicated endoscopic scoring systems not reflective of the totality of inflammation. In addition, complex trial protocols with restrictive eligibility criteria, increasing burden of procedures and administrative tasks enhance the need for qualified resources in study coordination. At the physician level, lack of dedicated time and training is crucial. From the patients’ perspective, long washout periods from previous medications and protocol requirements not reflecting clinical practice, such as prolonged steroid management and placebo exposures, limit their participation in clinical trials. Conclusion This joint effort is proposed as the basis for profound clinical trial transformation triggered by investigative centres, contract research organizations, sponsors and regulatory agencies.


  • Uzzan, Mathieu
  • Bouhnik, Yoram
  • Abreu, Maria
  • Ahmad, Harris A
  • Adsul, Shashi
  • Carlier, Hilde
  • Dubinsky, Marla
  • Germinaro, Matthew
  • Jairath, Vipul
  • Modesto, Irene
  • Mortensen, Eric
  • Narula, Neeraj
  • Neimark, Ezequiel
  • Oortwijn, Alessandra
  • Protic, Marijana
  • Rubin, David T
  • Oh, Young S
  • Wichary, Jolanta
  • Peyrin-Biroulet, Laurent
  • Reinisch, Walter

publication date

  • July 5, 2023