Every one of us, at some point in our lives, will face the daunting challenge of having to choose between medical options for ourselves, our family and our friends. Clinical trials are playing a large and growing role among the options for patients and their health care providers to evaluate and consider. Nearly 4,000 experimental drug therapies are in active clinical trials today and that number will continue to grow as improvements are made in detecting disease, in understanding the root causes of acute and chronic illnesses, and in discovering medical innovations. And in the not-so-di
A flourishing clinical research enterprise is critical in order to advance medical knowledge and practice for today’s patients, as well as for those in the future. The information obtained from individual trials may be like small building blocks that contribute incrementally to medical knowledge, or they may yield significant breakthroughs.
I have often thought of what I – or my elderly mother or uninformed nephew—would wish to know before deciding about participation in clinical research, but it is nearly impossible to narrow the desired information to the one most important point. On the one hand, what any individual needs to – or wishes to – know will differ and be filtered through their personal and health situation, life experiences, nature and character. On the other hand, this is because the decision is, at its core, a nuanced choice that involves a balance between often competing factors.
Participating in a clinical research study is a selfless act. Perhaps there will be personal benefit from participating in a clinical trial, but it’s not guaranteed. Every year individuals decide to advance scientific knowledge and available medical therapies by volunteering to participate in clinical research. By definition clinical research involves uncertainty and I can only imagine how that must feel. It can’t be easy. As a clinical researcher I am extremely grateful for your bravery and selflessness. You truly are a medical hero…to me and to others.
It takes years for even the most promising experimental drugs to transition through laboratory development, clinical trials, and FDA evaluation in order to reach patients. FDA, collaborating with advocacy organizations and industry, has implemented numerous measures to accelerate drug development and evaluation.
Participating in clinical research is very important. It helps us develop new medicines, potentially helps the patient’s own condition, and contributes to our knowledge about disease. Without volunteer participation, therapeutic improvement would not be possible.