Although Canada is home to some of the world’s leading clinical trialists, the country falls short of the level of efficiency and streamlined processes other nations have created for clinical trials.
This gap was exemplified when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and other countries broke ground, in record speed, with vaccines and treatments. Countries like the UK, US and Brazil led the way; Canadian clinical trialists had to ask themselves why we did not.
As a result, the Canadian government saw the need for action, and investment, to close this gap with a nation-wide consortium to accelerate, optimize, and facilitate the conduct, implementation, and results translation from high-quality, high-impact randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to improve health in Canada and around the world.
In early 2023, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research committed $39 million over three years to the newly created national consortium, Accelerating Clinical Trials (ACT) / d’Accélérer les essais cliniques (AEC).
This pan-Canadian effort brings together hundreds of researchers from 28 networks, 11 trial units, patient-partners, the biotechnology industry, government, and experts in research ethics review processes, contracts, insurance, regulatory processes, patient engagement, clinical trials training, communications, and knowledge mobilization – from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and Nunavut.
PHRI is the CIHR grant host institution and the coordinating centre for ACT/AEC. PHRI Senior Scientist PJ Devereaux is the nominated principal investigator of ACT/AC.