Medical science has been rapidly advancing in the recent decades and we can prove that with many examples: new therapies for diabetes, the first vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer, oral treatments for Hepatitis C curing more than 90% of the cases, the first Lupus drug in 50 years, personalized medicines to treat the most dangerous types of skin cancer, genome editing, immunotherapy eradicating cancer cells, and many many more. And we all remember the end of AIDS and how medicine turned the HIV infection into a chronic condition that no longer threatens one’s life.
Ask scientists why they study the genome, or try to connect the brain to computer, or try to create a mind inside a computer. Nine out of ten times you will get the same standard answer: we are doing it to cure diseases and save human lives. This is already in progress but it cannot happen without the patient input.
If you have ever wondered how these medical gurus come to such conclusions and achievements, I can give you a simple answer – through clinical trials.
Currently, there are over 60000 clinical trials worldwide exploring innovative approaches, procedures and drugs to prevent, treat, manage or cure a certain condition.
Clinical trials are an integral part of the drug development process: without them, modern therapies would never reach the ones in need. It is a way for patients to have an innovative treatment years before it is in the pharmacies or hospitals. Being tested on animals, healthy volunteers and then patients with a given condition, a compound is potentially turned into a promising medicine that can change or even save one’s life. All with the aim to deliver cures to chronic and life-threatening diseases.
Even your smart watch features tracking your daily activities have been proven in a clinical trial. The bad news here is that these innovative molecules could never come into reality if there are aren’t enough people volunteering to take part in these research projects. What’s worse, 85% of people don’t know about clinical trials being a treatment option and how to access them.
This is why at FindMeCure Foundation we are empowering patient communities to learn how to find, understand and join clinical trials online. Together with the EMHA Alliance, we have partnered to inform the migraine community on the options they have to access innovative therapies for this condition. Through a specially developed widget, patients and caregivers have the option to directly get in touch with the medical teams running the study of interest and discuss whether this would be the right next step for them. The unique algorithm allows assessing trials on their safety and credibility and suggests trials relevant to patients’ needs and personal criteria.
To sum up, the value of clinical trials participation is that we can help millions of people while helping ourselves. Medical science needs our input in order to keep advancing and creating miracles. This is why it is so important that patients are informed in the right way, in the right time. Information is everything but only if you know how to access it and how to benefit from all that!
Article by Daniela Shikova