Eight years ago, CLIN-Net, a European wide network of more than 1000 hospitals, was established to more efficiently conduct clinical trials focused on antimicrobial resistance. To achieve this objective, CLIN-Net identifies and supports researchers to participate in and contribute to large, international clinical trials; organises trainings for hospitals; maintains a network of national coordinators; and manages a database of capacities of each hospital.
In 2013, CLIN-Net was founded with the objective to establish, train, maintain and continuously update a portfolio of Good Clinical Practice-qualified clinical trial sites across Europe as part of COMBACTE-NET. A clinical site network was set up that included around 150 hospital sites in 10 European countries in the first year.
Since then, CLIN-Net uses its register of hospitals to efficiently select suitable sites to conduct trials. In the past seven years, the CLIN-Net team conducted and supported 26 site selections and clinical studies with a network that has grown to now include 1,042 hospitals spread across 42 European countries.
To maintain this network capable of conducting high-quality clinical research, CLIN-Net provides participating physicians with the opportunity to receive training. These trainings are on Good Clinical Practice (GCP) or additional subjects if requested. GCP trainings are offered online or face-to-face. So far, a total of 976 researchers have completed the GCP training, and CLIN-Net organised 17 face-to-face trainings. To keep the network updated, a monthly newsletter is shared with the sites that highlights progress within COMBACTE and its trials. To further update the network, face-to-face country visits and national coordinator meetings are also organised.
To continue creating a solid and permanent infrastructure and qualitatively expand the network, CLIN-Net has also been focusing on performance measurement. In the last couple of years, CLIN-Net worked on analyzing (the development of) the network and identifying the best performing clinical sites. An evaluation on the performance of sites was done by checking site capabilities and previous study performance. For an even more refined result, a series of data collection, data analysis, project management feedback, and a combination of quantitative and qualitative data has been used. This analysis of the network is continuous, with new data gathered from ongoing trials resulting in a dynamic and up to date group of best performing sites.
By knowing in detail how an individual site can perform we are able to act quickly when a trial request reaches us and transparently select the sites that are the best fit for several clinical trials simultaneously for a wide range of indications in the field of infectious diseases.Miranda Hopman, CLIN-Net Project Manager
Vital Assets For A Successful Network
National coordinators play an essential role within the CLIN-Net network. Their knowledge and experience is of great value for the optimisation of the network, and they support site selections and clinical trials locally. Input from the National Coordinator is imperative in order to select appropriate sites for ongoing and future (non-)COMBACTE studies and to get sites interested in participation. Most National Coordinators are members of established cooperative networks of experienced centres specializing in infectious diseases and intensive care units (ICUs). At this moment CLIN-Net has 43 National Coordinators in 29 countries.
As National Coordinator for COMBACTE, I have an opportunity to put my regional network in Serbia to use for the purpose of conducting international, high-quality research, while expanding the knowledge of many of my contacts. This is extremely valuable for them, as well as a big step forward in terms of scientific advancement.Biljana Carevic, National Coordinator, Serbia
CLIN-Net during COVID-19
Currently the CLIN-Net network is active in the COVID-19 pandemic and is involved in the setup and expansion of several COVID-19 studies. The CLIN-Net network supports large scale clinical trials that help speed up the development of treatments during this outbreak and gathering important epidemiological and clinical data resulting in new knowledge concerning COVID-19.
“By deploying our network and supporting COVID-19 studies, we can do our part in working to combat the pandemic. It is an added benefit to see this also proves the value of our COMBACTE CLIN-Net infrastructure.”
CLIN-Net is part of the foundation on which COMBACTE and non-COMBACTE clinical trials have been performed over the last seven years. The continuation of this network in the future will highly benefit clinical research on antimicrobial resistance, emerging infectious diseases and pandemics. CLIN-Net will continue to collaborate with and support innovative efforts such as the REMAP-CAP adaptive platform trial and other clinical studies in the coming years. This extensive network will also help COMBACTE in becoming self-sufficient in the near future as a European-wide sustainable clinical trial network for infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance within ECRAID, the European Clinical Research Alliance on Infectious Diseases.