Clinical Trials: What's All The Fuss?
Now more than ever, clinical trials have become normal discussions in the news and newspapers. Researchers, doctors, and scientists have always been concerned with the latest trial developments and progress, but why are they so important? Well, hopefully by the end of reading this blog, you will understand how vital clinical trials are, and how they can help you.
Without clinical trials, there cannot be advancements or innovations in medicine. There won’t be better treatment options, better ways to diagnose illnesses, or better ways to even prevent illnesses. Clinical trials help researchers to understand if new drugs, treatments, devices, diagnostic methods, etc. also work in humans. For example, before a drug goes into human clinical trials, they are usually tested in animals and if successful, they advance on into clinical trials on humans. Researchers then test the safety and effectiveness of drugs, devices, diagnostic methods, etc. in humans. Clinical trials are governed by strict protocols and overseen by many different regulatory bodies, such as Independent Review Boards (IRBs) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Age-related death rates for coronary heart disease in the US were cut in half from 1980 to 2000. This was not a coincidence, but the result of clinical research and new therapies as a result thereof. Without clinical trials, public health in the US would not be where it is today.
Critics of clinical trials often see them as a profit-driven “experiments” to make pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and medical device companies even more money. However, what they forget is the fact that clinical trials have actually saved the lives of millions already. Diseases like polio or measles have almost been completely eradicated in the US. The diagnosis of cancer is not a death sentence anymore, and neither is the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. All made possible through research done in clinical trials.
Important to note: clinical trials are not always conducted to find new drugs. Often, they are conducted to get more information about the safety and benefits of existing treatments or combinations of existing treatments. This helps patients and doctors to get a better understanding and better information when it comes to choosing between treatments.
Behind every drug you take, behind every FDA approved treatment, device and diagnosis, there is a clinical trial. Thousands of patients have volunteered to make this possible and they are the reason why there were big breakthroughs in the prevention and treatments of illnesses. Without the willingness of these volunteers, many people would have suffered because of disease and/or even died. Clinical trial volunteers are nothing less than heroes who are playing the part in improving the care of all Americans.
Clinical trials are the heart of modern medicine. Without clinical trials, there is no advancement in medicine, and there are no ways to find better treatments, preventions, or diagnoses for illnesses. The goal of every clinical trial is to see if a new treatment or diagnostic method actually works and at the same time is also safe. There are also clinical trials that are looking particularly at other aspects, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.
But, clinical trials also need volunteers. From our experience, individuals participate in clinical trials for two reasons:
Individuals with an illness or chronic disease participate mostly to receive cutting-edge treatment and get additional care and attention from research staff.
Healthy individuals participate to help others, honor their loved ones, and/or contribute to medical advancement.
All in all, clinical trials offer hope for sick individuals and help medical professionals to find better treatments, better diagnostics, and better ways to prevent illnesses in the future.
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