Monday, November 2, 2020

Clinical Trials: Where Would We Be Without Them?

This piece has been entered in the Patients Have Power Writing Contest run by Clara Health designed to raise awareness about clinical trials. I am passionate about this cause and hope it will help raise much-needed awareness about the power of breakthrough research.

When you hear the phrase, "Clinical Trial" where does your mind go? Does it immediately dismiss the thought, or do those words pique your curiosity? Do you think "Lab Rat"? Or do you think "Hero"?

Prior to being diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, in February 2011, my mind went straight to, "I wonder how much it pays?" So, opportunistic, I suppose.

Today, I take those two small words much more seriously, as I would not be alive today if it were not for clinical trials. Funny how your perspective can change depending upon your circumstance. I now have great admiration for those in clinical trials; I consider them "Heroes".

Without these Heroes many drugs, vaccines, and unproven medical procedures which are commonplace today, may not have even been an option, years ago. They were just thoughts and ideas, yet to be proven more beneficial, than harmful. They were someone's pipe dream.

While clinical trials can sometimes be risky and time-consuming,  they are a necessary step toward reaching new medical advances and cures for many different diseases and conditions. 

Often clinical trials are filled with people who have become desperate to either find a cure, or extend their life as they have exhausted all approved medical treatments., and have tried everything possible to either cure or control their disease or condition.

 Other trials are filled with people who truly just want to be a part of furthering the advances of medicine, treatment, and cures. Take the coronavirus vaccine for one. This is a trial that is not dictated by having a specific disease such as cancer, or a condition such as diabetes. 

It is an injection that may prevent an illness, that has been claiming lives and causing long-term damage to many people. By agreeing to be one of the first humans to receive the vaccination, you may be a part of saving thousands of lives, worldwide.

You may be one of the first people immune to the coronavirus and a part of a huge medical breakthrough. 

Entering into a clinical trial when you have reached the end of your rope is a fairly easy choice; you most likely feel desperate and are willing to risk, adverse reactions. You may find yourself grasping at any and all possibilities and you have refused to give up hope; you are willing to take a shot in the dark, not only to save your own life but also to help others, in the process.

Patients Have Power.

Choosing to enter a clinical trial returns some sense of control to a patient, and gives a person hope. This hope in turn gives their life meaning, even during what may be their final days. Having a purpose, and giving your life meaning is an important aspect of life, and participating in a clinical trial may mean saving or improving your's and sometimes, more importantly, many other lives, based upon the results of your participation. To me, this is a selfless act and should be applauded.

I am alive today because of people who entered a clinical trial for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. The first clinical trial began in 1998, with a drug named Gleevec; through its success, Gleevec was FDA approved, for treatment of CML, in May 2001. This groundbreaking discovery has vastly changed the outcome of CML patients from certain death to a bright future; one that often rivals the life expectancy of someone who does not have cancer.

Today there are clinical trials for people with CML to try and live in treatment-free remission, after achieving a non-detectable state, for several years while on drugs used to control CML. I know and admire many of these pioneers and someday hope to qualify for a clinical trial myself.

Being that I now personally understand the importance of clinical trials, I hope to someday be able to offer my body in a trial, in order to give back what I have been given by the brave heroes of previous clinical trials. 

I was astounded by the number of trials that are currently either recruiting or are in the process of gathering data. If you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself, you may wish to do a little research and join in a clinical trial. 

Clara Health is a great place to find the latest and greatest medical treatments and to help you find a clinical trial if one exists, that is right for you. 

By joining a clinical trial, you may find that your time and efforts are rewarded by helping others, by giving the hopeless, hope, and in return, you will have the satisfaction that you have been a part of something bigger than yourself. 

I am grateful for those running medical trials and for those heroes that are a part of them.

Clinical trials ROCK!

FaceBook: CML: A Place for Hope and Humor



Bricks for the Brave!!