Before we tell you why to take part in a clinical trial, we should tell you what a clinical trial actually is. A clinical trial is used to test the effectiveness of a new drug/treatment for a particular illness. Everyday medicines like paracetamol and aspirin also had to go through clinical trials before they were made public. Clinical trials are a standard part of medical development and help to discover new, revolutionary treatments. However, the centre of any clinical trial are the patients. Without you, clinical trials cannot take place. So, here are 10 reasons why you should take part in a clinical trial.
1. You have access to the best minds in medicine
Clinical trials are not just designed by anybody. Actually, it is quite the opposite. These trials are designed by the best in the medical and pharmaceutical fields. Leading companies and recognised doctors with extensive knowledge in their field are responsible for clinical trials, so you are in good hands (Graff, 2017)
2. Clinical trials can help you
The very nature of clinical trials is to test never-before seen drugs. This means that you would be one of the first to receive a new treatment for your illness, meaning there is a chance to improve your health. By taking part in a clinical trial, you have access to treatment that may work better than your current treatment (Cancer Research UK, 2019)
3. You have access to better healthcare
Moreover, during the duration of the trial, you will have a team of medical professionals dedicated to your health, who will closely monitor how your body is performing. This is care which is often difficult to access elsewhere (Alliance for aging research, 2017)
4. You can help the future
As we previously stated, you are at the centre of a clinical trial. Without people to take part in trials, it means that clinical trials cannot happen and, therefore, groundbreaking treatments cannot be discovered. Clinical trials are essential for finding cures. Even if the trial you take part in does not find a definitive medicine, it still gives doctors access to more information about the illness, and information is what helps them find a cure. We can see this through the fact that only 5% of adult cancer patients in the USA take part in clinical trials, compared to 60% of child cancer patients. Statistics highlight that the survival rate for child patients is much higher than that of adult patients. This is partly due to the fact that doctors have more information about cancer in child patients, which in turn allows for better treatment (Graff, 2017). To put it simply, by participating in clinical trials, you can help save lives.
5. Clinical trials need diversity
The reliability of clinical trials is often hindered by a lack of diversity in the trial patients. This is because trials often struggle to attract participants from different backgrounds, meaning they lack diversity in age, ethnicity, gender, geographic location and socioeconomic background. (Graff, 2019). This limits the reliability of the trial result because it is argued that the trial is not a true representative of people who are suffering from the disease. Therefore, by taking part in a clinical trial, you can make the patient list more diverse, and therefore aid to produce an accurate result.
How can you take part in a clinical trial?
Doctors often know of clinical trials taking place for particular illnesses, so may recommend that you participate in one depending on your medical condition. You can also sign up through charities like Alzheimer’s Society, who have their own methods of recruiting patients. A simple way to register your interest in taking part in a clinical trial, particularly if you are a dementia patient, is to download the MindMate app. Whilst you are doing daily activities on the app like playing games, or logging in information on your diary, the app will recommend clinical trials which are suited to you. Therefore, you will have access to clinical trials that specifically suit you and it is completely up to you if you would like to participate.
Cancer Research UK. (2019). The pros and cons of taking part in a clinical trial. [online] Available at: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/find-a-clinical-trial/what-you-should-be-told-about-a-clinical-trial/advantages-and-drawbacks [Accessed 2 Oct. 2019].
Graff, S. (2017). 7 Reasons to Participate in Clinical Trials. [online] Sarah Cannon. Available at: https://sarahcannon.com/blog/entry/7-reasons-to-participate-in-clinical-trials [Accessed 2 Oct. 2019].
Alliance for Aging Research. (2017). Five Reasons You Should Participate in Clinical Trials - Alliance for Aging Research. [online] Available at: https://www.agingresearch.org/five-reasons-you-should-participate-in-clinical-trials/ [Accessed 2 Oct. 2019].