This Saturday, on the 20th of May, the world will come together to mark International Clinical Trials Day. This day serves as a reminder of the importance of clinical trials in the development of new treatments and therapies for various diseases.
What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are scientific studies that aim to test the effectiveness and safety of new drugs, different ways of using old drugs, medical devices, and procedures on humans. These trials are essential in determining whether a treatment is safe and effective for use in patients. They involve a series of rigorous testing phases that must be completed before a new drug or treatment can be approved for use by regulatory bodies.
The importance of clinical trials cannot be overstated. They provide crucial evidence-based data that can be used to improve healthcare and develop new treatments and cures. Furthermore, they have played a critical role in the development of numerous drugs and medical devices that have revolutionised medicine and saved countless lives. Numerous BIG studies have played such a role, changing the way millions of women and men with breast cancer are treated.
When running a clinical trial on a very specific type of breast cancer, it takes a long time to recruit enough patients to participate. Sometimes, there are even not enough people with that specific type of cancer in one single country, this is why a network such as BIG is crucial.
Patients are at the heart of our research
Participating in clinical trials can also benefit patients directly. Patients who participate in clinical trials often receive access to new and innovative treatments before they are widely available. This can be particularly beneficial for patients with rare or hard-to-treat diseases.
However, it’s essential to note that participating in a clinical trial is not without risks. Patients who participate in clinical trials must be fully informed of the potential risks and benefits of the trial before consenting to participate. It’s crucial to ensure that the trial is conducted ethically and with the utmost care and attention to the patients’ safety.
BIG follows strict principles of research conduct that aim to eliminate bias from the research process and to maintain integrity vis-à-vis patients. This is the case both when BIG partners with pharmaceutical companies as well as when BIG works alone. BIG ensures that data collected is handled and analysed independently. Moreover, all BIG studies are governed by committees and policies embodying scientific independence and designed to safeguard patient interests at every step of the way.
“We believe that it’s essential to ask questions that patients have identified as important, not just their doctors. In the future, we hope to create more opportunities to involve patients in trial design.” – Prof David Cameron, Chair of the breast International Group_ Xtalks interview
Already since the early 2000s, BIG has involved patient representatives in the steering committees of its studies and, more recently, the Patient Partnership Initiative was established to give patients even more of a voice in the development of BIG trials.
We know more about breast cancer than ever before. BIG brings together the world’s leading breast specialists to combine resources and multi-disciplinary expertise. For nearly 25 years we have been conducting innovative clinical trials and research that have helped to develop better and more personalised treatments, improving patient survival and quality of life.
This International Clinical Trials Day, we celebrate the vital contributions that clinical trials make to healthcare as well as the importance of international collaboration in clinical trials. By doing so, we can continue to advance medical research and develop new and innovative treatments that can save lives.
- Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know. (n.d.). :https://www.fda.gov/patients/clinical-trials-what-patients-need-know/clinical-trials-what-you-need-know
- Why Are Clinical Trials Important? (n.d.).: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/clinical-trials/what-you-need-to-know/why-are-clinical-trials-important.html