Ever Thought About Being Part of a Clinical Trial?
New drugs, devices and treatments need trials before they can be approved. You could help medicine advance.
In the pages of Heart Advisor and in other media outlets, you’ve no doubt seen references to clinical trials of experimental medications, heart valves and other devices, as well as new procedures. But who are these patients who try these treatments?
They are people like you. They usually have a condition that can be treated with a traditional therapy. But if a new drug, for instance, has made it through early studies to be deemed safe for human trials, researchers are looking for patients willing to try it out. In other cases, established treatments haven’t been effective, so a clinical trial may be your best option.
“These trials play a major role in our ongoing effort to innovate and find the very best treatments and therapies for our patients,” says Cleveland Clinic cardiac surgeon Marc Gillinov, MD. “Clinical trials offer hope to those with illness and an opportunity for others to get special attention for their health issue or disease.”
If your doctor has never mentioned a clinical trial, go ahead and ask if you might be eligible. Trials are often done at research hospitals, such as Cleveland Clinic, or at large medical schools. Having a condition being studied isn’t always enough. Researchers have specific criteria for the patients they study. Age, gender, and medical history are all factors.
Dr. Gillinov adds that patient care and safety are of paramount importance. “When we ask our patients to participate in a trial, it is with their healthcare needs in mind,” Dr. Gillinov says. “And we invite you to ask questions and look at the data so the trial is right for you. When you participate in a study, you are helping us and yourself by advancing medical science.”