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2024. Patient-focused drug development in primary sclerosing cholangitis: Insights on patient priorities and involvement in clinical trials

Authors: Michael Li, Ruth-Anne Pai, Rachel Gomel, Mary Vyas, Sarah Curup Callif, Joanne Hatchett, Christopher L Bowlus, Jennifer C Lai

Journal: Hepatology Communications 2024 May 10;8(6):e0433.


Background: According to the new AASLD Practice Guidance, all patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) should be considered for participation in clinical trials. However, PSC’s rarity has posed challenges to characterizing patient interest in trial participation and identifying predictors of patient willingness to participate in drug trials.

Methods: PSC Partners Seeking a Cure developed the “Our Voices” survey to inform the development of the Externally-Led Patient-Focused Drug Development Forum, an FDA initiative to capture patient experiences and perspectives on drug development.

Results: Of 797 survey respondents from over 30 countries, 536 (67%) identified slowing disease progression as the most important outcome. Eighty-nine percent identified their hepatologist/gastroenterologist as someone they would approach for advice about trials. Although 61% reported being willing to participate in drug trials, only 26% had ever been asked to participate. Notable barriers to trial involvement included unknown long-term risks (71%), long travel times to the study center (32%), and a liver biopsy requirement (27%). On multivariable logistic regression, pruritus (OR 1.62, 95% CI: 1.09–2.40, p = 0.017) was positively associated with willingness to participate in disease-modifying therapy trials, while jaundice (OR 0.34, 95% CI: 0.19–0.61, p < 0.001) and inflammatory bowel disease (OR 0.64, 95% CI: 0.42–0.98, p = 0.038) were negatively associated. Pruritus (OR 2.25, 95% CI: 1.50–3.39, p < 0.001) was also independently associated with willingness to participate in symptom treatment trials.

Conclusions: Most patients with PSC report interest in participating in clinical trials, but few have been asked to participate. Referral of patients with PSC by their hepatologist/gastroenterologist to clinical trials and patient education on trial participation are vital to closing the gap between trial interest and participation. Pruritus may serve as a key indicator of patient interest in trial participation.

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