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Central nervous system remains most researched therapy area for DCTs

According to GlobalData’s Clinical Trials Database, the number of overall decentralised clinical trials (DCTs) has steadily increased from 282 trials in 2012 to 1,526 trials in 2023. There have been 763 trials in 2024 so far, and this is expected to increase to around 1,600 trials by the end of the year. From 2012 to 2016, both industry sponsors and non-industry sponsors had similar values regarding DCT usage. From 2016 onwards, more non-industry sponsors were using DCTs than industry sponsors.

The US continues to dominate the landscape of DCTs from 2015 onwards, with a sharp increase occurring in 2021. The UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia have similar values for DCT usage. An increase in DCT usage also occurs for these nations from 2020–2021. The sharp increase between 2020 and 2021 could be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, the top five nations are all high-income nations. High-income countries are far more likely to conduct clinical trials with virtual components than middle/lower-income countries, as high-income countries have the regulatory support required to adopt these new approaches.

The central nervous system is the most researched therapy area for DCT trials with 26% of trials, followed by metabolic disorders at 22%. DCT usage has become increasingly popular in most indications. Within central nervous system trials, remote patient monitoring (use of sensor or tracker) has become increasingly common. Some indications are more easily remotely monitored than others. For example, there may be fewer home measurement trackers or sensors in oncology compared to other indications, which may justify the reduced number of DCT trials for oncology. Some indications have more challenges to overcome, such as the administration of therapeutics (such as intravenous medication) or the need for in-person monitoring.