Every year, the clinical research industry gets its due with Clinical Trials Day, an event set aside to herald the positive impact trials have had on the world. The event is intended to encourage people around the globe to show appreciation for clinical research, and to raise awareness of the important work trial staff performs, day in and day out.
Day worth celebrating
Tricia Barrett, senior vice president and managing director for patient recruitment specialists Praxis, told Outsourcing-Pharma of all the holidays that are scattered throughout a calendar year, Clinical Trials Day is one worth honoring.
“All of us are patients, and all of us have likely taken some sort of medication in the past, which I’m sure we take for granted,” she said. “Without clinical research and without volunteer patients, new drugs wouldn’t make it to market, new therapies wouldn’t be introduced, new vaccines wouldn’t be developed, and my guess is a bit of hope would be lost.”
Barrett added that while her company prioritizes clinical trial professionals every day, it will be offering special celebrations throughout the day, including a happy our and informational content sharing the history of Clinical Trials Day.
Trial at sea
The event now recognized as the precursor to the modern-day clinical trial took place on a Scottish naval ship back in May 1747. Scottish doctor James Lind served aboard the Salisbury, a vessel enforcing a blockade in the English Channel, when he was faced with treating several sailors stricken by scurvy, a common ailment among seafarers at the time.
In search of a cure, Lind conducted his own ‘fair test’ to explore possible treatments. His research involved 12 scurvy-ridden sailors, and in his later detailed publication Treatise of the Scurvy, the doctor indicated he made every effort to keep factors like clinical condition, environment and diet constant, to maximize the quality of his results.
In the trial, Lind administered six different daily treatments, each given to two of the dozen men for two weeks. These included cider, diluted sulphuric acid, vinegar, sea water, citrus fruit, and a medicinal paste (made of garlic, mustard seed, dried radish root and gum myrrh).
“The most sudden and visible good effects were perceived from the use of oranges and lemons; one of those who had taken them being at the end of six days fit for duty,” Lind wrote. “The other was the best recovered of any in his condition; and being now deemed pretty well, was appointed nurse to the rest of the sick.”
Modern health challenges
Jim Kremidas, executive director, Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), told Outsourcing-Pharma that while centuries span the distance between Lind’s initial project and today’s clinical trial industry, they share more than a few qualities.
“There’s clearly a lot more scientific and regulatory rigor involved with modern clinical trials,” he said. “What’s common between Lind’s work and today’s clinical research is the desire for discovery – the push to tackle head on the health challenges we face as a society.”
Kremidas told us his organization is celebrating this year’s Clinical Trials Day with a list of resources designed to help clinical researchers mark the day in their own way.
“ACRP is providing a lot of resources to help clinical researchers celebrate their work and their contributions; we have a variety of digital resources available, including social media profile images and banner ads,” he said. “We also have the always-popular ‘selfie signs’ that clinical researchers can use to tell and share their stories – to communicate in their own words what their work means to them and society at large.”
Throughout the day, clinical researchers are encouraged to post their own pics and anecdotes on social media with the hashtag #CTD2020.
“It’s always fun to see how creative clinical researchers can be and we’re excited to watch that tradition continue this year,” Kremidas said.
Hailing ‘unsung heroes’
A number of companies serving the clinical trial industry are offering up salutes for the people serving in various roles across the field. Institutional review board services firm Advarra, for example, is recognizing research sites as heroic in the global COVID-19 crisis, and offering free resources designed to ease their work in the midst of the pandemic.
“Sites are bearing the brunt of adapting to significant changes during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gadi Saarony, Advarra CEO. “They are the unsung heroes at the focal point of research; sites face new obstacles every day but continue to care for patients and participants. You are rising to the challenge and we’re here to help.”
Advarra has announced it is offering a free eLearning module designed to assist sites in evaluating priorities and available resources, to assist them in formulating a plan for restarting studies impacted by the pandemic. Also, its free Ask Advarra forum and coronavirus guidance page continue to serve as a resource for researchers with concerns about opening sites and enrolling trial participants.
More information about Clinical Trials Day is available at clinicaltrialsday.org.