Suspended Clinical Trials

A suspended clinical trial has been prematurely halted during the recruitment or enrollment of participants, though it is important to clarify that it has not been canceled and will resume. The reason for this action may be several factors, though concerns over the potential validity of results and patient safety are two major justifications for suspension. In some cases, the credentials of researchers have even been called into question during the initial stages of a trial, leading to its suspension. Organizations like the American Cancer Society typically fund many of these trials, and payments to support studies may be halted if there is a question of legitimacy.

One such suspension occurred during a July 2010 Duke University cancer trial, when one of the associate professors of medicine was called into question for allegedly falsifying information on a federal funding application. During the allegations surrounding this trial, the American Cancer Society suspended payments on the $729,000 grant which supported the research, effectively halting the clinical trial altogether. Other clinical trials have been suspended over allegations that the trial process was rushed in order to get a particular medication on the market more quickly.

However, it is important to note that not all suspended clinical trials are questionable or unsafe. These essential medication safeguards are extremely complicated and difficult to organize, which means any number of glitches can delay their progress. Furthermore, the tremendous cost and time investment required, which can reach several hundred thousand dollars and years of study, also means any issue with the trial will be met with a suspension until researchers are sure the results will be accurate.  Too much is at stake for researchers to proceed with compromised studies.