It’s no secret that major research hubs and government agencies like the NCI produce large volumes of clinical trials around their sites. Many of these studies are extremely well funded and can afford to transport promising research subjects or recruits long distances to collect samples or provide doses for the study. Even if that weren’t the case, major research hubs like Boston, "Research Triangle" and New York have more than enough local population to recruit from.

It’s not surprising to hear that these three areas are clinical trial hotspots. As it turns out, there are quite a few concentrated areas in the US where a lot of clinical trials are starting and being carried out-- and many of them may surprise you.


The Oddball Hotspots

To start, let’s look at hotbeds of clinical trial activity relative to prominence. The following cities have at least several hundred clinical trials active or planned despite having no traditional association as research hubs:

  • Detroit, Michigan

  • Saint Louis, Missouri

  • Anchorage, Alaska

Each of these cities should come as a shock when used in the same sentence discussing hotspots of clinical trial activity. As it turns out, a few key institutions drive clinical trial activity in these cities. In Detroit, the Henry Ford Healthcare System handles hundreds of clinical trials, causing it to eclipse many similarly sized and wealthier cities in clinical trial output. In Saint Louis, it’s Washington University that’s responsible for a large amount of the clinical trial activity, though several local hospitals contribute as well.

Anchorage is the least expected clinical trial hotspot of these three by far: it’s remote, and not known for its research activity whatsoever. The explanation here is that the majority of Alaska’s clinical trials occur in Anchorage rather than any of its other cities. Several of Anchorage’s hospitals have research programs too, which contributes to the city’s outsized impact.


The Unexpectedly Cold Spots

  • Atlanta, Georgia

Despite being the home of Emory University and several prestigious hospitals, Atlanta doesn’t have much clinical trial activity going on relative to its size and economic importance. There may be an explanation for why Atlanta seems like it’s underrepresented in registered clinical trial activity, though. The Yerkes Primate Research Center is attached to Emory University, and is one of the US’ largest centers for in vivo trials involving primates.

So, while Atlanta may not be a hotspot of human clinical trial activity, it’s a sure thing that primate trials (which don’t have the same reporting requirements) are making up a lot of the difference between what’s expected and how many human clinical trials are really going on there.


Trying To Find The Newest Hotspot?

The key to hunting down the oddball clinical trial hubs is having the power to process clinical trial metadata at mass scale. Once all of the data is collated, picking out the unexpected areas of high activity relative to size or wealth is extremely easy. With this kind of data in hand, picking the next clinical trial site will be a snap.


Get a Personal Demonstration of the Tool We Used to Reveal This Data

The analysis in this post was done using our analytics tool, TrialFinder. Signup to see how you too can use this tool to expedite your clinical operations, commercial planning, or business development processes.


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