Over the past two centuries, humanity has managed to raise global life expectancies and well-being to unprecedented levels. These advancements are the result of a continuous influx of increasingly sophisticated medical solutions. With the help of new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines, we’ve managed to eradicate previously ‘unbeatable’ infectious diseases and convert terminal illness into treatable chronic conditions.
Nowadays, the development of new medical solutions follows a rigorous process. This includes testing new products for their safety and efficacy in humans during so-called clinical trials. Without convincing trial results, a new product is not authorized for market introduction, meaning clinical trials play a crucial part in the roll-out of new medicine and preserving global health and well-being.
Unfortunately, clinical trials have become increasingly complex, lengthy, and resource-inefficient due to fragmented data and processes, legacy infrastructure, and data integrity issues. The bottom line is that it currently takes 10 years of clinical trials before a new medicine can enter the market with only 1 in 10 compounds eventually making it to the patient. The exceptionally fast COVID-19 vaccine trials demonstrated that this should not always be the case and that there are clear opportunities for improving efficiency as long as this does not compromise patient safety and scientific integrity.
Clinical trials software powered by blockchain and Web3 technology standards
Dutch startup company Triall is seizing this opportunity by spearheading the use of blockchain and emerging ‘Web3’ technology standards to streamline and secure clinical trials. The company offers a software platform of blockchain-integrated solutions for research data capture, document management, remote patient monitoring, wearable integration, and more. These solutions are designed to fit several industry-wide trends such as decentralized trial designs and patient-centric clinical research. By offering a one-stop-software-shop, Triall is able to serve pharma/biotech companies, contract research organizations, and medical centers across the globe.
Uniquely, Triall applies blockchain to generate verifiable proof of the integrity of clinical trial data. These proofs are time-stamped on the blockchain and act like unique digital fingerprints. They demonstrate that a trial-related document or data object was present at a certain point in time and has not been altered since. This mechanism promotes the reliability of clinical research by safeguarding against the corruption or falsification of research data throughout its full lifecycle (which often spans 20 years).
Bridging the clinical trial, enterprise SaaS, and blockchain domains
Over the past 4 years, Triall has partnered with various industry-leading organizations, including CR2O, Crucial Data Solutions, Sphereon, and VU Amsterdam—a network that bridges the clinical trial, enterprise SaaS, and blockchain domains. These partnerships form a platform for further collaboration towards a decentralized and proof-based future for clinical research. One of the first major studies on Triall’s software platform is a Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension trial in collaboration with Mayo Clinic that involves 10 research sites and 500 patients across the United States.
Future outlook: democratizing clinical trials with Self-Sovereign Identity technology
As part of Triall’s future product roadmap, Triall is now applying Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) technology to further advance patient-centric research by providing patients with more ownership and control over their clinical trial participation. Supported by an R&D grant from the Dutch Government, Triall is building an SSI-enabled informed consent application where each patient receives a self-owned identity on the blockchain including a wallet of credentials that they can use to sign, update, and revoke their consent throughout a trial.
The underlying SSI infrastructure signals a power shift from the clinical trial sponsor to the patient and forms the basis for a decentralized platform where patients would eventually be able to share and monetize their own health data. As one of the core building blocks of this vision, Triall also launched its own utility token ‘TRL’ last year which will serve a primary means of payment in the future data exchange platform.
Triall’s journey has only just begun. Check out their website for more info on their vision for medical research: https://www.triall.io/
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