The Canadian Nephrology Trials Network (CNTN) is dedicated to enhancing researchers’ ability to conduct multi-centre trials that will increase the knowledge base of chronic kidney disease (CKD). In the Q&A below, Can-SOLVE CKD Project Coordinator Alicia Murdoch explains the mandate, evolution, and future directions of this national network.
Why was the CNTN created?
The Canadian Nephrology Trials Network was formed in 2014 in response to an identified need to improve the relevance, number and quality of nephrology clinical trials in Canada – and to do it on a national scale. At the time, an important meeting involving nephrologists from across the country was held, where these important goals were identified.
How has the network evolved over the years?
CNTN started out as a network that met twice yearly to review and discuss upcoming clinical trials. But a few years back, we began exploring ways to further improve the network. This led to a concentrated effort to boost communications, scientific support, and engagement across the CNTN. We’ve created three committees dedicated to these issues. Now these committees meet monthly to discuss how the network can help researchers. We have also established some new ways to collaborate and share ideas, such as a quarterly newsletter and Twitter account.
How do patient partners contribute to the network? And how have these contributions added to the network’s success?
Patient partners are members and co-chairs of each of the working committees and executive committee, participating in each meeting. Our patient partners are very experienced and bring new perspectives to the meetings, especially during the peer review process. For researchers, it is a unique opportunity to hear the patient perspective and incorporate it into their projects. As well, this collaboration helps foster better relationships with patients in research.
What CNTN accomplishments are you most proud of so far?
The creation of the three working committees. Our committee members have lots of great ideas and are really engaged. They are enthusiastic about expanding and strengthening the network.
What exciting changes are planned for the future of the network?
There is more we can do to increase our engagement with nephrologists across Canada and support those who want to participate in clinical trials. We are exploring opportunities to support researchers in their work through peer review, as well as promoting their research and the results through our website, social media and events. Another exciting goal is to support research fellows and new investigators in finding funding, connections, and patient partners.