News Brief

Medidata and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Publish Report Exploring Pandemic Impact on Oncology Clinical Trials in JAMA Network Open

January 28, 2021

Researchers from Acorn AI, by Medidata, a Dassault Systèmes company, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a report titled, “Trends in Oncology Clinical Trials Launched Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Network Open. The team’s analysis found a 60% reduction in new oncology trials globally during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (January 2020-May 2020).

The findings extend existing research by suggesting that, beyond COVID-19’s direct effect on morbidity and mortality, the pandemic also has indirect negative effects on the development of new medicines for people with cancer.

“The pandemic’s enormous immediate impact on global health and welfare includes avoidance of care for life-threatening conditions like heart attacks, strokes, and cancer as well as those stemming from increased material deprivation, decreased education, and increased social isolation,” says Elizabeth Lamont, MD, MS, senior medical officer, Acorn AI by Medidata. “Here we show another potential collateral effect—decreased scientific progress in clinical oncology—a finding which may be relevant to other disease areas as well.”

Fortunately, Medidata’s ongoing surveillance and research suggests that there has been a rebound in trial launches rather than persistent downward trends since the pandemic’s first wave drop in research and development. Medidata published a White Paper that shows research and development is adapting to the substantial challenges that COVID-19 continues to pose, which is cause for great optimism. The virtualization of technology solutions, which allows for remote engagement between patients and clinical sites, and regulatory support is among the important elements in helping to continue existing and initiate new clinical investigations.


Study Authors

Acorn AI by Medidata: Elizabeth B. Lamont, MD, MS, MMSc; Sheila S. Diamond, MS, CGC; Ron G. Katriel, PhD; Lisa L. Ensign, PhD; Jingshu Liu, MS, and Emelly Rusli, MPH. 

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS.


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