Developing new medicines is a lengthy and complex process, relying heavily on volunteer participation to evaluate potential therapies for safety and effectiveness in clinical trials. However, the clinical trial process has become increasingly time-consuming and complex, which has directly impacted the time and resources necessary for new treatments to become available to patients.
One of the biggest obstacles to the successful completion of clinical trials is finding volunteers to participate in the research, leading to delays in the timely availability of new medicines to the patients who need them. According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, two-thirds of investigative sites fail to meet patient enrollment requirements for a given trial.
Clinical trials may benefit participants by providing them the opportunity potentially to receive an investigational drug that is not available to people outside the trial. In addition, they may receive treatment from a clinical research team that provides careful oversight of their medical condition. Also, many participants report great satisfaction in playing a key role in advancing medical science and helping scientists find new treatments that will help more people live longer, healthier lives. Under federal law, clinical trials are regulated by the Department of Health & Human Services as well as an Institutional Review Board that is meant to help ensure that the potential benefits outweigh the known risks involved in a clinical trial.
Clinical Trials Awareness Week, May 4 – 8, 2015, is an ideal time to raise awareness about the importance of clinical trial participation and recognize the individuals who have made new, innovative treatments a reality for patients worldwide – clinical trial researchers and participants. By shining a spotlight on these unsung heroes, we can raise awareness about the benefits of participating in a clinical trial.