DCRI Think Tanks Demonstrate What Is Possible


DCRI Think Tanks Demonstrate What Is Possible

Tackling today’s healthcare challenges requires collaboration from every stakeholder, including patients, academic investigators, site investigators, regulatory agencies, pharmaceutical and device industry leaders, payers, technology companies and more.

DCRI Think Tanks demonstrate what is possible when you bring smart people together to tackle the biggest challenges in clinical research. From cardiovascular diabetes to the Pediatric Rule to the Modern Data Monitoring Committee, these meetings are about creating pathways to useful, focused discussions across the healthcare continuum and then moving consensus to action.

Our mission—to address the most critical gaps in clinical research by convening leaders across the healthcare industry to map the way forward in designing, conducting, and implementing high-quality, evidence-based research.


October 2-3, 2019

Innovative Approaches to Accelerating New Drug Evaluation for Chronic Cardiometabolic Diseases - Leveraging Intermediate Non-Clinical Endpoints and Pragmatic Clinical Trials

The development of new therapies for chronic cardiometabolic diseases has become increasingly expensive and time-consuming as the pivotal clinical trials required to demonstrate safety and efficacy on clinical outcomes have gotten larger and longer in duration. This reality means that many promising new therapies for chronic cardiometabolic conditions are abandoned and never developed. One often proposed solution to this challenge is to accelerate development through pre-market clinical trials with intermediate, non-clinical “surrogate” endpoints to be followed by post-market confirmatory, pragmatic clinical trials with hard clinical outcomes.

Meeting Directors

John Alexander
John Alexander, MD

Michael Lincoff
Michael Lincoff, MD

This Think Tank will focus on the question of whether and under what circumstances such an approach would be feasible and desirable. The characteristics of appropriate, intermediate, non-clinical endpoints that meet the needs of all stakeholders will be reviewed and discussed. Clinical trials evaluating the effects of novel therapies on non-clinical endpoints will require subsequent confirmatory clinical trials with clinical endpoints. The design and timing of these confirmatory clinical trials will be discussed with a focus on opportunities for pragmatic approaches. Not all confirmatory clinical trials will succeed. What happens when confirmatory clinical trial are not timely, adequate, or do not confirm the findings of clinical trials on non-clinical endpoints will be considered.

Key questions of this DCRI Think Tank include: 

  • When is accelerated development using non-clinical endpoints appropriate?
  • What are the characteristics of a valid, non-clinical endpoint?
  • What are the characteristics of an appropriate confirmatory clinical trial?
  • When should confirmatory clinical trials be started and completed relative to regulatory review and approval?
  • What is the potential for more pragmatic approaches to confirmatory clinical trials?
  • What happens when confirmatory clinical trials are not conducted adequately or in a timely fashion?
  • What happens when confirmatory clinical trials do not confirm the results of clinical trials with non-clinical endpoints?
  • What are the perspectives of all stakeholders including drug developers, regulators, investigators, clinicians, and patients?

DCRI Think Tanks Publications

Heart Failure Preserved Ejection Fraction

Meeting: June 7-8, 2017


Advancing Care and Clinical Trials through Digital Health

Meeting: December 5-6, 2016

Issues in Pediatric Cardiovascular Drug Development

Meeting: September 8-9, 2016


Leveraging E.H.R. for Clinical Research Now!

Meeting: February 18-19, 2016


Meeting and Publication Archive

Previous DCRI Think Tanks meetings with their associated publications are archived in 5-year increments.


DCRI Think Tanks is partnered with the CardioVascular Clinical Trialists Forum (CVCT)—a unique experts-only forum aimed at discussing important and timely CV trials and trial science issues (design, methodology, interpretation, approval and implementation). Their emphasis on interaction among highly knowledgeable global experts from multiple backgrounds, including academy, industry R&D, regulatory agencies, major journal editors, NHLBI, payers (CMS, HTA organizations) and patient representatives makes them a key DCRI Think Tanks contributor.

DCRI Think Tank faculty lead Dr.Matthew Roe and Fred Cobb Distinguished Professor of Medicine Dr.Eric Peterson chaired a joint CVCT-Duke Think Tank session with Dr. Martin Cowie titled “eSolutions – Big Data – Smart Data and How These May Help with Clinical Evidence Generation” at the annual 2018 CVCT meeting on Friday, November 30, 2018.

Recent DCRI Think Tank

July 31-August 1, 2019

Fast-tracking Research Results into Practice: Designing and Testing Effective Strategies for Implementing Evidence-Based Medicine

Health care organizations in public and private sectors spend more than $100 billion on research each year.
Yet, even when research evidence is available, stakeholders often do not have adequate information to make
decisions about the most effective treatments under particular circumstances or for particular patients. It often takes a long time to translate research results into clinical practice, particularly when health system and payor factors play a role beyond individual patient-clinician decision-making.

Meeting Directors

Tracy Wang, MD
Tracy Wang, MD

Amy Kilbourne PhD, MPH
Amy Kilbourne PhD, MPH

This Think Tank will focus on the question of how to sustain research-supported interventions at local health care institutions but also widely apply them beyond the initial systems under study. Healthcare environments around the world are increasingly driven by resource constraints and focused on maximizing health care value. Thus, descriptive studies of barrier/facilitators of implementation success are critical, but these need to link to rigorously controlled studies that evaluate the effectiveness of practice-based improvement initiatives. Implementation study outcomes impact both practice and the ability of interventions to be scaled.

Key questions of this DCRI Think Tank include: 

  • What are best practices in the design of implementation science studies?
  • What do implementation science studies contribute to lifecycle management of a drug or device?
  • What kind of real world evidence (RWE) do these implementation studies generate?
  • How can complex health interventions be assembled to change clinician and patient behavior?
  • How do you get patients involved and engaged meaningfully?
  • How do you describe and adapt interventions to different health care settings?
  • How can we best understand implementation science from a consumer perspective to help stakeholders interpret intervention benefit/value?

Cardiovascular Outcomes and Diabetes Drugs: Lessons Learned and Path Forward

DCRI faculty joined a DCRI Research Forum panel on March 6, 2018 to share their perspectives on Cardiovascular Outcomes and Diabetes Drugs after attending a think tank meeting on the same topic.


Matthew T. Roe, MD, MHS
DCRI Think Tanks Faculty Lead
Senior Investigator, Duke Clinical Research Institute
Professor of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center


Carolyn Moore Arias, MPH
Associate Director, DCRI Think Tanks

Connect with Us

The DCRI Think Tank program welcomes suggestions and ideas for future think tank meetings.

Contact Carolyn Moore Arias or Matthew Roe to share your idea or to get involved, or follow us on Twitter at @DCRINews. Look for the #DCRIThinkTank hashtag.



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