We all know how devastating a serious disease or chronic condition can be. Patients afflicted with conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, Alzheimer’s and even sleep disorders have a compromised immune system and are susceptible to numerous complications. Also very important, perhaps, the overriding concern, is that all of these factors have an effect of the patient’s quality of life.
Fortunately, patients suffering from diabetes, sleep disorders, epilepsy, and other conditions have research results provided by clinical trials. Doctors may refer to the results of clinical trials such as a PSG study (for a sleep disorder) or Alzheimer’s research studies in determining the course of treatment for their patients who suffer from a particular condition.
A clinical trial is a very positive way to try new medicines, and to obtain result for patients. According to a new MIT study, the POS (probability of success) for a clinical trial such as a PSG study–but omitting oncology–is approximately 20.9%. For oncology drugs, the POS is only 3.4%, a much lower number…meaning less chance of success.
There are risk-benefit factors for patients involved in participating in diabetes clinical trials, epilepsy studies or even a PSG study, to name just a few of the many clinical research studies that are being conducted. The benefits include being able to get treatment at no cost, before it becomes accessible to the public. Risks may include having to travel to the site of the trial, experiencing unpleasant side effects or a treatment that doesn’t work.
Clinical trials usually consist of four phases. Phase 1 clinical trials involves testing the drug for safety of use by humans, also known as phase 1 drug trials.
The phase 2 clinical trial is the stage which examines and tests the effectiveness of the drug in treating the disease being researched. Effectiveness and large scale safety are the objectives of a phase 3 clinical trial, and long-term safety is tested in stage 4.
While the aim of clinical trials is most certainly patient-focused, there is also a lot of money at stake. According to The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, the global pharmaceutical industry will reach a total value of $1.43 trillion by the year 2020. This same group notes that $149.8 billion was spent in 2017 by the pharmaceutical industry on research.
And the news about clinical trials and pharmaceutical industry is very encouraging. Hepatitis C, for instance, has been cured in 90-95% of cases thanks to patients receiving an 8 to 12 week drug treatment from the pharmaceutical industry.
As you can see from this brief overview, the benefits of clinical trials are many. And there are many kinds of trials: Alzheimer’s research studies, epilepsy studies, paid depression studies and even a PSG sleep study, to name a few. But within this context, the most important and ultimate goal is the treatment of the individual, providing hope for the future and ultimately the eradication of the medical condition which afflicts them.