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eClinical Viewpoint Blog

ICYMI: A Recap of DIA Conference 2018

Where can you find the best minds in clinical research, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries from around the world sharing new innovations and groundbreaking concepts? At the Drug Information Association's 2018 Global Annual Meeting, of course.

Over the years, this event has proven instrumental in bringing new ideas to life, and this year's conference, which took place June 24–28 in Boston, was no exception.

In case you missed it, here are some highlights from the DIA 2018 conference.

Experienced Exhibitors

Various organizations and businesses provided demonstrations and informational material to the more than 6,000 attendees. One of those exhibitors was MedNet.

Kelly Ritch, VP of strategic partnerships, was one of several team members in attendance. Kelly and her team demonstrated iMedNet's eClinical and electronic data capture capabilities as well as attended presentations and workshops.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Nora Volkow

One of those presentations was lead by Dr. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), who uses brain imaging to study the long-term effects of drugs. Dr. Volkow discussed how understanding the relationship between drugs and the human brain can help combat toxicity and addiction, especially in cases of pain management.

Highlighting the tragic epidemic of opioid addiction and abuse, Dr. Volkow discussed the good intentions behind opioid treatments, and how they spiraled into the state of emergency we're in today.

All opioid-based treatments, Volkow says, must include a plan for helping patients off of the drugs when the time is right. She discusses how science is continually showing us new ways to combat pain management addiction including brain stimulation and an actual vaccine that could prevent addiction altogether.

Breakout Session: Artificial Intelligence

Among the many presentations, Dina Katabi's stood out, according to Kelly. Dina, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, discussed how artificial intelligence is shaping the future of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Katabi's team at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) partnered with Genesis Labs, a program at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) that aims to empower researchers to develop new ideas. Together, they're developing a way to conduct clinical trials using AI.

They developed a device, about the size of a wireless router, that can monitor clinical trial participants without interrupting their daily lives —no more clinical settings or wearable devices. Artificial intelligence algorithms then use the information to develop insights that researchers can use in ways that are more natural than studies have ever been able to gather previously.

"I thought her presentation and her work was very interesting," Kelly says.

Read more about this research from MIT.

Biggest Theme

Efficiency and autonomy seemed a common theme among presentations at the conference.

"We are striving to build an intuitive and autonomous tool that brings value and efficiency to our customers," Kelly says. "That concept was widely present throughout the conference. Everybody is still craving and seeking more ways to integrate technologies and increase efficiencies so they can do more valuable research faster and sooner. It's a combination of pushing the boundaries of technology as it exists today while also developing for the future.”

For MedNet, that means continuously looking out for emerging trends so we can steer our product toward those. We are always thinking of ways to maximize our tool for customers across a wide range of study types.

As the professionals in clinical research, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries settle back into their day-to-day routine, they'll remember all they learned at DIA 2018.

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