Every year, millions of people choose to participate in clinical research and become partners in the process of developing new medical interventions. We call these brave individuals “medical heroes” in the ongoing battle to understand, fight, and cure disease.
Founder and Chairman, CISCRP
Medical heroes can be found everywhere. They are mothers and fathers, siblings, children, friends, colleagues, and everyday people who have chosen to give the extraordinary gift of participation in clinical research. Their decision to participate is an altruistic gift that always carries risk, usually offers no direct personal benefit, yet contributes profoundly to collective knowledge about the nature of disease, its progression, and how to better treat it. Ultimately, future generations are the direct recipients of this gift.
Most people know very little about clinical trials until they face the sudden and often unexpected prospect of a serious and debilitating illness for which no medication is available or adequate. Typically, patients, their families, their friends, and their healthcare providers must gather information quickly to make decisions about whether to participate. This rush to navigate the unfamiliar terrain of clinical trials invariably feels overwhelming and confusing.
Appreciating medical heroes
In 2004, the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) was founded to provide outreach and education to those individuals and their support network considering participation in clinical trials. Based in the Boston area, this nonprofit organization focuses its energy and resources on raising general awareness, on educating patients and the public, and on enhancing study volunteer experiences during and after clinical trial participation. Our many events and services are designed to improve public and patient literacy, to engender feelings of empowerment and control, to ensure more informed decision-making, and to recognize and appreciate medical heroes.
This special supplement also plays an important part in raising awareness and literacy. It is a reference resource offering an introduction to clinical trials and to thanking the millions of people and the clinical research professional community who, together, help advance medical knowledge.
At the present time, nearly 4,000 experimental drugs and therapies are in active clinical trials, and that number continues to grow as improvements are made in detecting disease, in discovering new medical innovations, and in understanding and addressing the root cause of acute and chronic illnesses. At the very heart of all this promising clinical trial activity are medical heroes to whom we owe our deepest appreciation for their profound gift of participation.