According to the CDC, 25.8 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Image: Blood test device
It is very easy to see the relevance of studying most science topics. When you study the weather in earth science, it allows you to better understand the weather patterns that cause school cancellations for snow days or delay sporting events. When you study the body systems, you better understand how to stay healthy.
You take it for granted that scientists in all fields of science are always finding out new information about a huge variety of topics. You hear about it in the news everyday! How do scientists find out this new information?
Scientists research, study, measure, explore, investigate and examine every possibility to get the answers they need to solve a problem. Whether they are trying to find treatments for specific kinds of cancer, invent a new medicine for asthma, or discover why a certain disease strikes some people more than others, scientists devote years to finding out the information they need to understand the problem they are tackling.
But, then what?
Finding out everything they need to know about a cancer does not provide a specific medicine or treatment for it. Understanding the mechanisms of asthma does not make your asthma attacks any easier. Scientists then begin years of testing their discoveries in laboratories on test organisms to create new treatments. And eventually, they have to find out if their innovative treatment or medicine works on people. At this point, some kind of procedure must be in place to take what researchers learn in the laboratory into the clinical (or patient) environment.
This is when the clinical trials process begins. You may be just finding out about clinical trials, but your life has certainly been touched by them. If you have ever taken over-the-counter cold medicine, a prescription medicine, or even a vitamin, you are benefiting from a clinical trial. Think of this part of the process as building a bridge between the researchers and clinicians. Clinicians are people who work directly with treating patients as opposed to the researchers who work in a laboratory researching techniques or theories.
The clinical trials process provides a scientifically sound and ethical method of testing new medical treatments and getting them to real patients. Imagine that a group of scientists have a new experimental medicine that might help a member of your family recover from a disease. Would you want them to have the opportunity to get this new treatment? Would you want this treatment to have been tested thoroughly on a large group of people?
The clinical trials process is immensely important in achieving astounding medical breakthroughs! Built on years of work by talented scientists, the trials ensure that each new treatment is thoroughly tested, that revisions are made, and the best possible results occur.
You will learn more about the clinical trials process through your CyberSurgeons program. You will learn when they are used, how they are run, and why each step is so important. Most importantly, you will learn that a clinical trial is a partnership between the researchers, the doctors, and the heroic volunteer patients who participate in ground-breaking treatments. It allows for the final testing of treatments that may improve the quality of life for patients in a way they may never understand. Truly, these people are indispensable to finding treatments and even cures to diseases and conditions that devastate so many families.