Looking at the news covering the front pages of social media can be overwhelming. Earthquakes in the East, wildfires in the West…trying to find ways to help can be difficult. Do you donate to local charities or do you spread awareness on your own social media? Are you actually making an impact and saving lives? When you want to provide people with the resources they need to get out of a hard situation, reaching out to your local hospital can be a great place to start. Clinical drug development wouldn’t get very far without the assistance of volunteers and you could do a world of good by learning more about what goes into the studies that provide millions with the antibiotics, painkillers and preventative care they need to stay healthy.
If you’re unsure about the safety and function of a clinical study, the article below will shed some light on the field.
Clinical trials have been around for quite some time. The very first clinical trial was conducted all the way back in the 1700’s. It was an attempt to find a cure for scurvy, a debilitating physical illness that was caused by severe vitamin C deficiency. Clinical trials would proceed to grow and evolve over the centuries, being relied upon to create life-saving vaccines and vitamins alike. There’s even a holiday dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating the function of clinical trials, known as ‘International Clinical Trials Day’ in May.
It’s common for people to be fearful of the doctor’s or dentist’s office. From fear of being overcharged from fear of not receiving the treatment they need, medical research studies are no different in the eyes of many. There are, however, multiple safeguards in place for both doctors and volunteers to get the most out of their work. Consent is such an important aspect of medical studies that the 9th revision of the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Code has its own section dedicated to the topic.
Clinical trials come in phases, each one with its own express purpose on the path toward a form of medicine or vaccination with proven results. Considering how large and varied the human population is, no one type of medication is viable for everyone. That doesn’t mean allergic reactions and poor efficiency shouldn’t be reduced as much as possible. The phase 1 clinical trial is the smallest of the bunch, with researchers administering either an experimental drug or treatment in a group as small as 20 and as large as 80.
After the phase 1 clinical trial comes phase 2. Much like the above it repeats the same dosage and researching process, only this time to a group of people as small as 100 and as large as 300. Learning about its effectiveness and how it translates across people from different age groups and with different needs does wonders for providing doctors a larger picture as to what their product has to offer. After the phase 1 clinical trial and the phase 2 clinical trial comes the third, with the group of people reaching its largest possible amount at 3,000.
While the phase 1 clinical trial and onward are strictly testing, the final phase is less a testing stage and more of a way to wrap up all the conclusive research. The trial team will submit what’s known as an NDA (or New Drug Application) for approval to finally go on the market. Every single year the RandD will see anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 drugs being offered. Only 250 or so will make it to the pre-clinical trial stage, with just five actually reaching clinical trial testing.
People can help in many different ways. Donating plasma is one way of assisting a relief effort. Another way is reaching out to clinical drug development and providing a means for researchers to test a new breakthrough. A recent study saw nearly 50% of respondents saying taking part in clinical trials is just as valuable as donating blood. Whether or not this is the right decision for you will take some time and research, but knowing the benefits is a major part of steering you toward a place where you can help others.