Visualization of Cardiovascular Clinical Trials

Marcus Choi
Posted on Feb 21, 2021

Github|Linkedin|R Shiny App

Introduction

Clinical research is medical research involving human subjects to test the safety and the efficacy of a drug, therapy, or treatment in order to alleviate or cure a certain disease or injury. It is an essential part of our society and integral to developing scientific and medical breakthroughs. As a result of the implementation of clinical research studies, healthcare has only progressed, and life expectancy has been extended, especially with the application of modern technology.

One of the most common clinical trials is related to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. In order to make it easier to view the data on cardiovascular clinical trials, I have developed an R Shiny Application. The purpose of this application is to visualize and provide useful information regarding these clinical trials and it may be useful for:

  • Anyone or knows of anyone suffering from this disease and may potentially be interested in participating in these clinical trials.
  • Anyone that has a family history of this disease and may want to get more information on what types of prevention methods are available.
  • Medical researchers interested in the specific drug, therapy, or treatment utilized in the research study.

Dataset

The dataset used was acquired from clinicaltrials.gov, a repository for clinical trials in the United States provided by the U.S National Library of Medicine. The dataset was filtered for cardiovascular related trials for the purpose of developing the Shiny Application.

Features & Insights

In the Shiny Application, there are 5 main tabs located on the left side bar of the main page. The first tab is the introduction, which states the background information and purpose of this application. It also displays brief videos on more information about clinical trials and cardiovascular disease.

The second tab displays a map of the specific locations of cardiovascular related clinical trials in the United States. The map includes, a clustering feature that allows the user to view the specific locations cluster as they zoom in and out of the map. When the user zooms in on the map, they can see the clusters split into sections that are  smaller and more specific to their location. This is a neat feature that may be useful for anyone interested in the study who would like to locate if there are studies in the nearby area. It can be seen from the map that New York, California, and Texas are the regions with the most cardiovascular related clinical trials.

 

The third tab, Information, displays bar charts of 4 different categories of these studies (Sponsor Type, Intervention Type, Patient Status, and Clinical Phase). Some visual insights gathered from looking the cardiovascular related clinical trials data are:

  • They are mostly sponsored by Industry companies, such as pharmaceutical companies and Other, which are academic institutions and non-profit organizations.
  • Drugs are the most common intervention followed by the use of a  medical device.
  • Currently there are 1,611 cardiovascular related trials that are recruiting patients.
  • Most studies are currently in phase 2, which has an emphasis on the effectiveness of a certain drug or medical device. The goal of this phase is to gather preliminary data of the patient's  progress and the effectiveness of the drug or device. This phase is also intended to gather data on the safety of the intervention such as short-term side effects.

 

 

In the fourth tab, Exploration, there is an interaction box plot enrollment number and duration of each trial for cardiovascular related clinical trials. These plots are an interactive feature that allows you to see the median, interquartile range, and minimum and maximum values. The median patient enrollment number for interventional studies is 535, while observation studies have a median value of 516. That indicates  that both types of studies are pretty equal in terms of patient enrollment. Additionally, the median value of duration for interventional studies is 9 years, while observational studies tend to go on longer with a median duration of 11 years.

In the last tab, Data, presents a table of summary data by specific sponsors. The table includes features such as organization, total number of studies, average/minimum/maximum enrollment, and the length of study. When this table is filtered in descending order, we can see that hospitals, government organizations, and academic institutions have the highest number of cardiovascular related clinical trials, which is quite interesting to see. As for the sponsors, the medical company Abott has the highest number of cardiovascular related clinical trials.

Conclusion

It is certainly important for patients to have access to information regarding available clinical trials and have the opportunity to enroll in order to ultimately improve their overall quality of life. This application is a useful tool for anyone that may be potentially interested in participating in cardiovascular related clinical trials.  This provides general information of what kind of trials are currently available by organization and is a great way to get started.

 For the purpose of creating this application, the project was limited to visualizing cardiovascular related clinical trials data. However, given additional time and research I would explore further by pursuing these avenues:

  • Extracting statistical inference and hypothesis testing to different variables, such as the age and race demographics to explore further insights
  • Expand the scope of the application for leading causes of death, such as cancer, and explore the differences of the insights it provides
  • Conducting additional research and validation of the accuracy of source data 
  • Collecting global data points to further validate the trends and insights found from the United States




About Author

Marcus Choi

Marcus Choi

Marcus graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology. Upon graduation, he worked in oncology clinical research in data management, which sparked his passion for utilizing data in order to gain valuable insights to ultimately make...
View all posts by Marcus Choi >

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