Barcelona Clinical Trials Platform (BCTP), key tool for coordinating Catalan hospitals conducting clinical research

In late 2014, Biocat, in collaboration with the Government of Catalonia Ministry of Health, created the Barcelona Clinical Trials Platform (BCTP), which aims to put Catalonia among the top five European regions for doing clinical trials. After a first phase to define the concept, in 2015 Biocat worked to pool public and private resources to start working.

BCTP strives to become a key tool for coordinating the information from Catalan hospitals that do clinical research in order to act as a single metacenter that is a gateway to 5 million patients, as well as making talent and technology in research institutes available for clinical trials and integrating them into medical practice through personalized medicine.

The greatest challenge facing the BCTP is to bring innovative treatments to patients in Catalonia by integrating the expertise of researchers, while also allowing them to generate profits for the industry and useful results for public health policies and interventions. Pharmaceutical laboratories can benefit from this platform, which gives them easy access to both clinical research professionals and patients.

Gateway to 5 million patients

BCTP currently includes the main hospital research institutes in Catalonia: Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS), Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Health Sciences Research Institute of the Germans Trias i Pujol Foundation (IGTP), Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), Sant Pau Biomedical Research Institute (IIB Sant Pau) and Jordi Gol Institute for Research in Primary Care (IDIAP Jordi Gol).

Between 2012 and 2014, these research centers recruited 13,287 patients for many clinical trials in various therapeutic areas, participating in 1,487 clinical trials. There are currently 2,740 participations in clinical trials underway, which highlights the great potential and capacity of these centers to conduct clinical trials in Catalonia in various fields like oncology, infectious diseases, neurology, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

BCTP also acts as a platform to raise awareness and attract new studies from outside of Catalonia. Moreover, under the BCTP umbrella, the collective international visibility of the institutions will increase. This has been seen in other regions of Europe, like Scotland with its group of university hospitals, and the world, like all the Harvard University hospitals joining forces in Boston (United States). England also created the National Institute for Health Research - Clinical Research Network, a platform that brings together 15 regional platforms, like the BCTP, and in its 6 years of history has recruited roughly 100,000 patients.

BCTP helps coordinate information among Catalan hospitals that do clinical research

BCTP Areas of Action

In order to achieve its goals, the BCTP areas of action focus on:

  1. Simplified bureaucracy in order to cut negotiation and authorization times for clinical trials and facilitate the transfer of patients between centers to give patients access to therapies being developed.
  2. Centralized information to enable integrated, cohesive, efficient running of the member institutes by creating collaborative computer tools.
  3. Lifelong learning for clinical trial staff to ensure researchers and nurses are trained, certified and up-to-date with current best clinical practice (BPC).
  4. Commitment to patients to increase general knowledge regarding clinical trials and, in particular, to inform potential participants about the trials being conducted in Catalonia.
  5. Joint promotion of members to boost the collective international visibility of the member institutes at fairs, congresses and events in the sector.
  6. Integrating research into clinical practice to channel the technology and research expertise available in Catalonia towards clinical development of targeted therapies to move towards personalized healthcare.