The Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) and ZonMw, the Dutch organisation for health research and care innovation, are continuing their collaboration, and in October will again call on the research community to submit proposals for clinical trials. Belgium and the Netherlands entered into an agreement at the end of 2017 to jointly invest in comparative, practice-oriented clinical studies. The aim of BeNeFIT (Belgium-Netherlands Funding of International Trials) is for Belgian and Dutch hospitals to jointly conduct non-commercial, practice-oriented research that is relevant for patients, healthcare providers and policy makers in both countries. The 5 first clinical trials will be launched soon.
Health care questions relevant to both countries
The effectiveness of existing health care interventions is not yet sufficiently compared in clinical studies (e.g. comparison between medication and surgery, or between operating and not operating). Moreover, much research is not practice-oriented, which means that the results are not immediately usable in daily medical practice. Comparative, practice-oriented studies nevertheless contribute to better patient care and a more efficient use of public resources.
In the Netherlands, the government therefore funds such studies through the ZonMw programmes 'Rational Pharmacotherapy' and 'Efficiency Studies'. In Belgium, Minister of Health Maggie De Block commissioned the KCE in 2015 to initiate and follow up a programme for such clinical trials. As a result, KCE Trials was created.
KCE Trials and ZonMw joined forces 3 years ago under the name 'BeNeFIT'. After all, many questions are relevant to healthcare in both countries. By working together, clinical trials can be carried out faster and more efficiently and researchers and the financing government organizations can strengthen each other and learn from each other.
5 joint clinical trials in the starting blocks
In early 2018, the two organisations made a joint call to the Belgian and Dutch research communities to submit research proposals that were relevant to patients, healthcare providers and policymakers from both countries.
This call resulted in 38 study proposals. After thorough selection, this resulted in 5 clinical trials, which will start soon: a study on (1) the treatment of wheeze symptoms in young children (KIWI), (2) the treatment of invasive Aspergillus (fungal) infection (DUET), (3) dose reduction of the new generation biologics in psoriasis (BeNeBio), (4) evaluation of surgery in elderly with traumatic acute subdural hematoma (RESET ASDH) (5) the impact of high versus standard enteral protein provision on functional recovery after a stay in intensive care (PRECISE). The first results of these studies can be expected in 2023.
Maggie De Block, Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health (Belgium): "In order to further improve the care for our patients, it is important that countries join forces. And that is exactly what we are doing with BeNeFIT: Belgium and the Netherlands are carrying out practice-oriented studies together. This enables us to recruit patients more easily, increase the quality of the studies and achieve results faster, so that we can help other patients. The first research projects of BeNeFIT will start soon and we are already launching a call for a second series of projects".
Researchers can again submit proposals in October
In October 2020, KCE and ZonMw will launch a new call for study proposals. With a budget of up to 9 million euros, BeNeFIT will again fund studies with patients in both countries.
If you would like to be kept informed about this call, you can:
Register for the KCE Trials newsletter
Register for the ZonMw newsletter
Keep an eye on the KCE Trials subsidy calendar
Keep an eye on the ZonMw subsidy calendar
ZonMw: via firstname.lastname@example.org
KCE: via email@example.com