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New adaptive platform clinical trial model to accelerate advancements in schizophrenia treatment

New adaptive platform clinical trial model to accelerate advancements in schizophrenia treatment

A world-first Queensland-based clinical trials platform will enable researchers to evaluate multiple therapies simultaneously, potentially leading to faster discovery of more effective treatments for people living with schizophrenia.

Kickstarted with program grant funding through the Metro South Health Research Support Scheme, the clinical trial platform has brought together clinicians, researchers, and clinical trial specialists from the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR), and West Moreton Health.

Principal Investigator, Dr Urska Arnautovska, said the clinical trials platform has significant advantages over traditional clinical trials.

“Traditional clinical trials are very inflexible, and only allow a single treatment to be tested at any one time,” Dr Arnautovska said.

“Conversely, our platform clinical trial will have an adaptive design and flexibility to test multiple promising treatments at the same time.”

“This is a big advantage, because we want to bring better treatments which can improve outcomes and social functioning for people with schizophrenia and their carers in a timely and efficient manner.”

“Schizophrenia is a mental disorder causing significant human suffering and cost to the health system because antipsychotic medications, the mainstay of treatment, are only partially effective and have devastating side effects that make people obese and prone to diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.”

The platform clinical trial is in development stage and expects to have multiple clinical trials opportunities coming online over the next three years.

The trials within the platform are expected to require fewer participants overall compared to individual clinical trials, as a single control group can be used for multiple treatment arms, reducing the burden on patients, and streamlining the research process.

Dr Urska said that unlike traditional trials with fixed protocols, platform trials can adapt throughout the process.

“Treatments showing no promise can be dropped, while promising new ones can be added, ensuring efficient use of resources and focusing efforts on potentially effective options,” she said.

“We are grateful to funding from the Metro South Health Research Support Scheme for giving us the opportunity to be a world leader in mental health clinical trials and hope that continuing investment from funders will enable us to improve health outcomes for patients living with schizophrenia through our platform trial model.”

The clinical trials platform is an initiative of QCMHR’s Physical and Mental Health Research Stream, led by Professor Dan Siskind.

Established in 1987, QCMHR is funded by Queensland Health to work state-wide and contribute to the local, national, and global research efforts to improve mental health.

Visit our donate page if you are keen to support our platform clinical trials project or other QCMHR research.

Media contact:

Laura Corcoran, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 0414 504 508.



Level 3, Dawson House
The Park Centre for Mental Health Treatment
Research and Education, Wacol, QLD 4076
P: +61 7 3271 8704


In the spirit of reconciliation, the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands in which QCMHR operates and their continuing connections to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and stand together with all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.