If you don’t ask, you might not be told about clinical trials…Reina knows
I recently became acquainted with Reina Weiner (@) via Twitter. We crossed paths and I learnt of Reina’s interest in getting patients more engaged in their healthcare. I asked Reina if she would like to write a guest post to give her thoughts on ‘Why Clinical Trials Matter’. Here’s what Reina said, in her own words….
Great question. Clinical trials matter in so many ways, but let’s start with the “biggie: “Clinical trials are research studies that investigate new treatments and potential cures for all manner of diseases. The goal of researchers is to evaluate medications for safety, efficacy and proper dosing. Additionally, clinical trials compare what is called “standard of care” medication (one currently used to treat a particular illness) with a potential, new drug. All ethical and over-the-counter drugs are required to go through the clinical trials process. The scrutiny, the many levels of approval – both medical and legal before it is allowed to open – and the continuous commitment to its goals are all an essential part of a valid trials process. In order for a medication to be released for public consumption researchers want the assurance that this drug is as safe and effective as possible. Clinical trials are the only way we know of currently to achieve that goal.
How do I know all of the above? I was an oncology representative for several pharmaceutical companies and after many years became the national oncology trainer. My daily responsibilities were to present clinical trials data to physicians, nurses and pharmacists. We’d discuss side effect management, listen to the objections they voiced and suggest ways to manage them. My personal goal was always to be a resource for healthcare professionals and hopefully, indirectly, to patients.
Then I became a patient. My doctor never did suggest a clinical trial. I ASKED. Very quickly he found one that was appropriate for me. For three years I was treated with infused therapy, monitored with many blood tests, PET/CT’s, echocardiograms, bone marrow biopsies and a stem cell harvest (an additional trial that was superimposed on the original one). Fortunately, my results have been positive. I have been well.
If you’re wondering if I’d participate in another trial, I would. As a matter of fact, I’m currently in another trial for several reasons: I believe I’m getting excellent care and helping doctors/researchers answer disease and treatment questions for the many patients who will follow me with the same illness. By enrolling in a clinical trial I see the benefits as twofold – yes, to improve my own health, but also to be a small part of medical advances. All for the greater good.
Reina S. Weiner
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