Launching the #WhyClinicalTrialsMatters Hashtag Campaign
It is May 1st, and I am delighted to be launching this opportunity to gather the thoughts of the community, researchers, industry and other stakeholders in the clinical trials enterprise on Why Clinical Trials Matter.
I’d like to begin by acknowledging ECRIN as the founder of International Clinical Trials Day in 2005 and stimulus for the many events this initiative has subsequently spawned. I ran my first event in Australia in 2008, The Clinical Trials Honour Roll. This year, I thought I’d test the power of social media. I am hoping that promoting a hashtag that can be used leading up to and on International Clinical Trials Day for the many events that are now held throughout May internationally to create awareness may help focus attention on the value of clinical trials.
My first awareness of clinical trials began with my father when I was a teenager. He was involved in a couple of different clinical trials, for unrelated conditions. The latter trial was for stage 4 Melanoma, and though the trial sadly did not alter the trajectory of his disease, I am sure his participation and that of others over the years since he passed in 1991 have led to the improvements in melanoma treatment that we now see today. What is interesting to me is that many of the guidelines and protections now in place to ensure good quality trials are conducted and participants are protected have only come in subsequent to my father’s time. If he was involved in a trial today, there would be much more information available to him than I am led to believe he was given at that time. And yet he still participated, no doubt in part for himself, but because he thought it would do good for others in the future. I am sure that altruistic streak has undoubtedly influenced a number of the personal and career choices I have made, some unconsciously.
I have had the privilege to be part of the clinical trials enterprise, both working in industry and research centres, for the past 16 years. Through my clinical research career, I’ve had the opportunity to travel, to learn a little about many health conditions, to meet and work with people passionate about improving the lives of others through medicine, and see the work I do contribute to the development of new treatments.
I am passionate about creating awareness of clinical trials in the community, and encouraging greater public involvement in trials. I think it is an obvious evolution clinical trials will have to take, to become more patient centric and include greater public involvement in the entire life cycle of clinical trial projects. However, such involvement will not be possible if the community does not have an understanding of and appreciation for the importance of clinical trials, the pros and cons of being involved as a participant, and what they can contribute as broader collaborators in the research enterprise.
I hope you will join me in participating in this social event, and spreading the word, to help focus the spotlight on #WhyClinicalTrialsMatter.
With thanks in advance for your support,
Contact me via: @WhyCTsMatter / @JanelleBowden