Piedmont Medical Group (PMG), which runs an Integrated Site Network of clinical research facilities in the southeast region of the United States, has signed an agreement with ICON Clinical Research formalising the partners’ existing working relationship to improve patient recruitment for clinical trials.

Under the agreement, PMG will provide ICON with feasibility intelligence and access to quality-driven investigator sites co-ordinated centrally. Citing PMG’s “diverse and established” network of facilities, Pam Howard, vice president, project planning & analysis for ICON Clinical Research, said the US company’s “infrastructure and experience will serve as an integral resource in helping to deliver quality results and efficiency in terms of patient enrolment and retention to our clients”.

According to PMG, the partnership will allow it to enhance planning and preparation for clinical trials, including further development of the company’s clinical trial professionals and expansion of its facility network. Together with PMG’s newly launched website and participant education initiatives, the agreement is an important step towards “our goal of consistently improving the clinical trials process and the experience of our partners and participants”, commented Dr Thomas Littlejohn, the company’s president and medical director.

New solution for ICON imaging

In an unrelated development, ICON Medical Imaging has launched a new software solution that enables cardiac echocardiography (ECHO) images to be viewed, measured and interpreted in clinical trials.

The software, MIRA-ECHO, is the latest addition to ICON Medical Imaging’s proprietary Medical Imaging Review and Analysis (MIRA) platform. ECHO is a widely used clinical method for assessing heart structure and function that plays an increasingly important role in clinical trials, both as a marker of cardiac safety and for measuring the therapeutic effects of drugs and devices under evaluation in patients with heart failure, noted the division’s Dublin-based parent, ICON plc.

However, currently available ECHO software is limited by the inability of the interpreting physician to fine-tune tracings of heart-wall border measurements against the full-motion image of the heart, ICON added. This fine-tuning “can optimise the accuracy of an important marker of heart performance - the left ventricular ejection fraction”.

MIRA-ECHO is a DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) image viewer and analysis software module integrated with an Electronic Case Report Form (eCRF). It displays links from the traced images back to the measured moving heart image, as well as to the numerical measurements captured in the eCRF.

“For the first time we have a solution that allows us to adjust and fine-tune traced cardiac measurements stored in the eCRF against a moving source image, whilst maintaining regulatory compliance and an audit trail,” commented Dr Jonathan Goldman, chief medical officer at ICON Medical Imaging. “Combining MIRA-ECHO to the existing MIRA-QCA module for quantitative coronary angiography allows us to offer clients unparalleled capabilities for cardiovascular assessments.”