Clinical Trials: Are They Safe?

Barbara: "If I join a clinical trial, will I be treated like a guinea pig?" Dr. Theo: "That is an excellent point. The thing we have to bear in mind is that even though drugs in trials are experimental, they have to go through several different steps before being approved. As a starting point, drugs of the future are discovered and tested in animal studies before ever reaching human clinical trials. It's only the most promising drugs that will be tested in humans and those go through extensive testing. As an example: On average, a new cancer drug has been studied for at least 6 years before it even makes it into clinical trials. So by that point, there are likely to have been one or more trials that show that the drug is at least safe. Now, before any clinical trial starts, it must pass ethical standards to ensure that it's safe and that the volunteers will get treatment that is at least as good as (and maybe even better than) what they would get if they didn't volunteer. Finally - and really important - scientific review committees comprising of independent medical experts are set up to approve and review all trials before researchers can sign patients up and every few months after the trial has started. If the risks at any time are considered to outweigh the benefits, the trial will not be allowed to continue."

Clinical Trials: Are They Safe?

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