So many of the posts here on this site are about acts of kindness and ways of helping others. Every day on the news we see real human stories of people with serious illnesses and fighting for their lives. What better way to pay it forward is there than to help in saving lives?
My son has a rare disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. He also has multiple potentially life-threatening food allergies. My husband and I spend every waking moment in the hopes that one day there will be a cure.
Clinical trials are an imperative part of finding cures for disease. We all know this. In fact, 94% of people know the importance of participating in clinical research. So why is it that 50% of clinical trials are unable find one or more participa It is even harder to find participants for studies involving juvenile diseases. Yet, how will we ever find a cure for any disease if no one participates in the research?
Most people don’t realize that many clinical trials need healthy participants as well as participants with the disease in question. Think about it this way. You can use your health for helping others and perform an incredibly generous act of kindness. What better way is there to be socially responsible than to help find a cure for disease?
In recognizing the need for clinical trial participants, the Michael J. Fox Foundation launched the Fox Trial Finder to make it easier to get involved in clinical research. You do not have to be a patient with Parkinson’s disease to sign up. (I signed up just this morning.) You just have to be willing to participate in clinical research studies. For more information, go to: https://foxtrialfinder.michaeljfox.org/.
You can also participate in the fight against breast cancer by joining the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Army of Women at http://www.armyofwomen.org/. When you sign up you will receive periodic emails about clinical trials seeking participants based on a specific set of criteria. Even if you are not a match for the trial, you may just know someone who may be willing to participate.
Every clinical trial has criteria or guidelines about who can participate in order to produce the most reliable results. Some clinical research studies look for participants with the illnesses or condition being studied while others look for healthy participants. Each clinical research study differs based on the type of research being done.
Once you have agreed to participate and qualified for participation it is likely that you will then be given a set of instructions for participating in the clinical trial. You will also be monitored carefully during the trial.
Though we must begin to recognize that without our help doctors and scientists will not be able to find cures for disease, it is also important for participants to know the risks and understand the scope of research before agreeing to participate. Make sure you know what to expect during the clinical trial and be sure to ask any questions you may have before starting the process. Know how much of your time will be needed, how many times you will need to visit the study site or communicate with the trial coordinator.
For those who do have the disease or illness being studied in clinical trial there are upsides and downsides as well. The biggest downside is that the trial may not work. However, often participants in clinical trials gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available.
For more information about getting involved in clinical research studies, go to: http://clinicaltrials.gov/. The site’s database has over 127,000 current trials worldwide.
There won’t be a cure for disease without our help. This is up to us. We can pay it forward in the most generous of ways by participating in these studies. Let’s do what we can so that the human stories we see on the news are ones of recovery and healthy futures.
Have you ever participated in a clinical research study? Would you ever participate in clinical research?