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monitor the clinical trial until completed. Clinical trials involving recombinant DNA also must be reviewed by an institutional biosafety committee, or IBC, a local institutional committee that
reviews and oversees basic and clinical research that utilizes recombinant DNA at that institution. The IBC assesses the safety of the research and identifies any potential risk to public health or
clinical trials typically are conducted in three sequential phases that may overlap or be combined:
- Phase 1. The biologic product candidate initially
is introduced into a small number of healthy human subjects and tested for safety, dosage tolerance, absorption, metabolism, distribution, excretion and, if possible, to gain an early understanding of
its effectiveness. In the case of some product candidates for severe or life-threatening diseases, especially when the product candidate may be too inherently toxic to ethically administer to healthy
volunteers, the initial human testing is often conducted in patients. Phase 1 clinical trials of gene therapies are typically conducted in patients rather than healthy volunteers.
- Phase 2. The biologic product candidate is
evaluated in a limited patient population to identify possible adverse effects and safety risks, to preliminarily evaluate the efficacy of the product candidate for specific targeted diseases and to
determine dosage tolerance, optimal dosage and dosing schedule.
- Phase 3. Phase 3 clinical trials are
commonly referred to as "pivotal" studies, which typically denotes a study which presents the data that the FDA or other relevant regulatory agency will use to determine whether or not to approve a
biologic product. In Phase 3 studies, the biologic product candidate is administered to an expanded patient population, generally at multiple geographically dispersed clinical trial sites in
adequate and well-controlled clinical trials to generate sufficient data to statistically confirm the potency and safety of the product for approval. These clinical trials are intended to establish
the overall risk/benefit ratio of the product candidate and provide an adequate basis for product labeling.
clinical trials, sometimes referred to as Phase 4 clinical trials, may be conducted after initial approval. These clinical trials are used to gain additional
experience from the treatment of patients in the intended therapeutic indication, particularly for long-term safety follow-up.
all phases of clinical development, regulatory agencies require extensive monitoring and auditing of all clinical activities, clinical data and clinical trial investigators.
Annual progress reports detailing the results of the clinical trials must be submitted to the FDA.
IND safety reports must be promptly submitted to the FDA, the NIH and the investigators for: serious and unexpected adverse events; any findings from other trials, in vivo laboratory tests or
in vitro testing that suggest a significant risk for human subjects; or any
clinically important increase in the rate of a serious suspected adverse reaction over that listed in the protocol or investigator brochure. The sponsor must submit an IND safety report within 15
calendar days after the sponsor determines that the information qualifies for reporting. The sponsor also must notify the FDA of any unexpected fatal or life-threatening suspected adverse reaction
within seven calendar days after the sponsor's initial receipt of the information.
FDA or the sponsor or its data safety monitoring board may suspend a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the research subjects or patients are
being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. Similarly, an IRB can suspend or terminate approval of a clinical trial at its institution if the clinical trial is not being conducted in accordance with
the IRB's requirements or if the biologic product candidate has been associated with unexpected serious harm to patients.