Why Do Clinical Trials Need Healthy Volunteers?
What do you think of when you hear the term “clinical research”?
If you’re like a lot of people, you may think about testing various drugs and therapies for illnesses such as osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia. If this is the case, you are right! Clinical research is how the treatments for any condition, disease, or illness are discovered.
So why do clinical research studies still need healthy volunteers?
A Better Understanding of the Medication
Like any quality product, house, or even a relationship, a drug must be developed on a solid foundation.
Before testing on participants who actually have a given condition, a new medication or therapy must be tested on healthy volunteers. Observing how a drug is processed in a healthy individual’s body is the only way for researchers to truly understand the new medication. This must happen before the medicine proceeds to stages of testing on patients with the disease.
If you are enrolled in a clinical trial here at our state-of-the-art facility and have an illness (such as migraine, PCOS, or any of the many conditions we are working to treat and cure), you can rest assured that the medicine has already passed many rounds of testing. Testing on the group of people who would ultimately benefit from the new drug is actually the last phase of clinical research, and testing on healthy volunteers is only one step before that. Any treatment anyone would receive in a clinical trial has already passed many rigorous rounds of testing.
Not all clinical testing on healthy volunteers here in the Orlando area involves taking medications, either. Some just involve surveys or having blood drawn. Every trial is different!
Your Contribution to Medical Progress
Participating in a clinical trial as a healthy volunteer can help you take a proactive role in your healthcare in a setting that encourages personal interactions with the physicians, researchers, and staff. Participants often learn new things about their health! Sometimes they are even paid to participate, but it depends on the trial.
This probably already sounds good, but the cherry on top (or perhaps a whole second sundae!) is how much you are helping our nation and our world. Every single treatment that exists, from the little things like over-the-counter painkillers you snag for a mild headache to the big things like the chemo that saved your neighbor’s life, started with a clinical trial. Modern medicine could not advance at all if it weren’t for clinical research.
“Participating as a healthy volunteer is one way that individuals can actually contribute to the development of new medications, devices or procedures,” said Terry Novchich, director of the Penn State College of Medicine Clinical Trials Office.
This means that when you participate in a clinical research study, you’re not only a valued volunteer– you’re also a philanthropist helping make essential medical progress for generations to come!
Eligibility and The Research Process
Like any clinical trial, healthy participants must fit the set of eligibility and inclusion criteria associated with the trial. Often this has to do with the purpose of the therapy or drug being tested.
For example, if a medication has to do with treating hot flashes, we would not need any 20-year-old male volunteers!
Some common deciding factors for many studies include:
- Pregnancy status
- Smoking status
Enrollment criteria might not include all of the above, and it may include different factors too. Ultimately it’s there to match the healthy volunteers to the demographic of patients who would ultimately be taking the drug. It also helps prevent variability in the research sample.
That being said, there are many different clinical trials out there in need of healthy volunteers. Any person of any demographic should be able to find a research study that’s right for them.
What To Expect
If you are interested in enrolling in a clinical study as a healthy volunteer, you will also be given some overall health tests. Feeling healthy and not having any serious problems is of course a great starting point, but you must be medically deemed healthy too.
If you are accepted into the study, the clinical research site’s expert physicians will make you fully aware of the:
- Potential benefits
- Potential risks
You can chose to withdraw at any time, even after you’ve officially signed informed consent papers. The clinical research process is meant to benefit everyone involved, so we only want to work with those who are comfortable and happy to be partaking!
Does participating in a clinical study as a healthy volunteer sound right for you?
Many Americans are becoming more conscious of their long term wellness and want to be in the driver’s seat of their health. If this sounds like you, please fill out the short form on this page and we’ll be in touch regarding our current clinical trials here in the Orlando area. If you’re not sure whether you’d be interested but are curious about knowing more, that’s great too! We are always free to answers your questions. Please use the form mentioned above or give us a call at (386) 785-2400.