Funding the Future: SC CTSI Grant Supports Student Research on Critical Topics in Translational Science

By Samantha Devapiriam — July 20, 2020

Spanning over 80 countries and 6,000 collaborators, the Drug Information Association (DIA) is a diverse network of healthcare professionals, scientists, and researchers committed to innovating solutions in the field of life sciences. Now, more than ever, it is critical to have a space where scholars can come together to exchange ideas and solutions to the world’s most pressing healthcare problems.

Every year, the DIA hosts a global meeting to provide a space for such conversations to occur. The annual global meetings bring together innovative thinkers to share ideas on what is next for the field of healthcare and life sciences. In light of the ongoing pandemic, this year's meeting was hosted virtually. The theme of this year’s meeting was centered on patient inclusivity in treatments, and the patient experience can often feel impersonal or uncomfortable.

Three students from USC’s Department of Regulatory Science Research Team focused on three different aspects of patient inclusivity. Funded by a grant from SC CTSI, Karen Chan, Annie Ly, and Christian Reyes all submitted digital posters on their research to this year’s DIA Global Meeting.

Karen Chan submitted research on the ways wearable tech and devices can be partnered with clinical trials to provide less biased data. Karen’s research shows that wearable tech may be a viable option for measuring the impact drugs, behavioral therapy, and other interventions have on clinical research participants.

Annie Ly’s research was on assessing the impact of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA), an act from 2002 that allows the FDA to require drug manufacturers to conduct pediatric clinical trials for already approved drugs. In her research, Annie examined clinical trials from 2016 to 2018 that contained drugs approved under BPCA and analyzed them for any similarities and trends. In her findings, Annie determined there to be a lack of pediatric representation in clinical trials eligible to both pediatric and adult patients.

Christian Reyes’ research was on understanding to what extent plain language, as opposed to medical jargon, is used when describing clinical trial research to participants and the general public. One of Christian’s key findings was that many clinical research teams either did not or were unsure of if they had personnel dedicated to ensuring the results of their studies were written in plain language. “Plain language can make the clinical trial process more approachable, positive, and friendly towards previous or potential participants,” Reyes said.

Funding the next generation of researchers and supporting the pursuit of innovative research like what these three students have been working on is critical to the future of translational science and aligns well with the overall CTSA mission. As for the future plans of these students, they are pursuing some fascinating research paths. Christian Reyes plans to continue his research on plain language and also investigate how natural language processing can be used to make clinical trial results more understandable to current and prospective participants.


NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important - All publications resulting from the utilization of SC CTSI resources are required to credit the SC CTSI grant by including the NIH funding acknowledgment and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.