Why Do People Participate in Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials are vital to the advancement of modern medicine. They enable us to explore, detect, prevent, treat and hopefully cure the diseases and illnesses which threaten us all. Clinical trials aim to determine if potential new drugs, tests and treatments are safe for humans and they can also investigate other aspects of care, such as improving quality of life for people living with particular conditions. Resulting treatments might include new drugs and treatments, new ways to detect and diagnose a condition or new combinations of surgical procedures and drug
In short, the possibilities of what can be achieved through clinical research are endless, but the success of trials is inextricably tied to the availability of volunteer participants. Participation in clinical research globally is at record levels and increasing year on year, although some eligible patients still choose not to take part in studies mostly due to reservations they have about what a trial involves. Whether you’re considering volunteering for a clinical trial, or are just interested to learn more, here’s a few of the main reasons why so many people choose to participate: 1. To get access to new treatments For people living with serious conditions, participating in clinical trials can be a lifeline. Not only will you gain access to treatments that are not widely available and could be potentially life-changing, you also get the benefit of being closely assessed and monitored by a dedicated team of expert medical professionals who are fully invested in your personal health and wellbeing. 2. To Give Hope to their Loved-Ones Many illnesses or diseases can be genetic and so by participating in clinical research, you are helping to improve the lives of your family members and loved-ones in the future. Volunteering for a trial enables the advancement of medicine, making new treatments available for your future family. Who knows when a study could be the one in which a cure is discovered!? 3. To Give Hope For the Future Not only could participation be beneficial for your own family, contributing to the discovery of new treatments has the potential to help transform life for millions of others living with a particular condition! New drugs could enable future generations of patients to live more easily or even wipe out a disease altogether! The potential implications of taking part in a clinical trial are a major reason why so many people take part. 4. Because their Physician Advises it Oftentimes, people get involved in clinical trials on the advice of their physician. Your doctor will most likely recommend a trial because of the potential for you to access new treatment. They have a responsibility to put your health and wellbeing first, and so you can be sure that they can be trusted if they believe participating in a trial could be of benefit to you. 5. Because Clinical Trials need Participants from all Backgrounds Clinical Research is a complex and thorough process, and trials often require highly specific criteria of their participants. Many trials require people with rare conditions and from diverse backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities. Obviously, not everyone who volunteers for a trial will be eligible, and a significant number of trials fail to get started because they could not recruit enough patients. Therefore, for the sake of medical advancement, it’s important that as many people as possible volunteer for clinical research. 6. Because Clinical Trials are Designed with Patient Wellbeing in Mind People often approach the prospect of clinical trials with concerns about their health, wellbeing and privacy, and these are all valid reservations. However, modern clinical trials are designed to be patient-centric, focussing on minimising inconvenience to patients and maximising their wellbeing at every stage. This even extends to such initiatives as compensating participants for their time and providing transport to and from sites when visits are necessary. All clinical trials are also monitored by an institutional review board (IRB) with a purpose and priority to uphold the rights and welfare of clinical trial subjects. The IRB uses its authority to ensure that all clinical research is conducted ethically and that patient safety is paramount. Understanding the role of the IRB usually eases concerns and reassures potential participants that clinical trials are a safe and beneficial process as well as a fulfilling one.