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Why Clinical Trial Participants Are Medical Heroes

Ken Getz

Founder and Chairman, CISCRP

The success of these medical innovations, and the availability of the thousands of drugs and interventions for all types of diseases, depends entirely on people who participate in clinical trials. We call these brave participants medical heroes, and they can be found everywhere. 

True heroes

Medical heroes are people like you and me who have chosen to give the extraordinary gift of their participation in research studies to find new treatments and cures for diseases. Their decision to be a clinical trial volunteer is a selfless act because it always carries risk, but it may not result in any direct personal benefit. 

Even with higher media attention on clinical trials, the majority of people know very little about what it means to be a study volunteer. Most people only look at clinical trials in earnest when they are faced with the sudden and often unexpected prospect of a serious and debilitating illness for which no medication is available or adequate. 

Raising awareness 

At that moment, patients, their families, friends, and their health care providers must gather information quickly to make decisions about whether to participate in a clinical trial. This rush to navigate the unfamiliar terrain of clinical trials feels overwhelming and confusing. Seventeen years ago, the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) was founded to provide outreach and education to all people and their support network considering participation in clinical trials. 

It is true that participation may bring hope to clinical trial volunteers and their loved ones.  But ultimately, future generations are the direct recipients of the gift of participation. Medical heroes, in partnership with clinical research professionals, contribute profoundly to our collective knowledge about the nature of disease, its progression, and how and how not to treat it.  

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