Clinical trials are an essential part of research – without them, there wouldn’t be new treatments for T1D complications, improved insulin pump technology, or breakthroughs on how to prevent T1D.
Before any new therapy – whether it’s a drug, device, or test – can be made available to the public, researchers need to show that it works as intended and is safe. Clinical trials are the gold standard way to do this, and nearly 4,000 of them are conducted in Australia each year.
These trials rely on volunteers, but researchers often struggle to find enough people to take part. Volunteering for a clinical trial can seem daunting if you haven’t done it before, or if you aren’t sure what it will involve. Familiarising yourself with clinical trials and how they work can help to ease any anxieties you might have.
Here are a few more things you might not know about clinical trials:
1) Participating in a clinical trial is entirely voluntary – you can withdraw from a trial at any stage, for any reason
2) You don’t have to pay to take part, and many larger trials will reimburse expenses like travel and parking
3) There are many kinds of clinical trials – they don’t all involve testing a new drug. You might be asked to try a different exercise routine, keep a symptom diary, or even just answer some questions
4) By the time a new therapy is in clinical trials, it will have already been through extensive testing in the laboratory – a therapy can only be tested in people once there’s enough evidence to suggest that it will be safe
5) Clinical trials involve medical teams that provide support and monitoring throughout the study. You’ll always have access to a health professional to ask questions, or let them know about any problems
Participating in a clinical trial can offer many benefits, but it’s important to remember that no trial is risk-free. Your healthcare team are the best people to talk to if you’re considering volunteering – they can give you more information on what’s involved, as well as helping you to find trials that might be relevant for you.
Interested in hearing more about clinical trials? Sign up to be a JDRF Game Changer and receive regular updates on the latest T1D research.
If you’d like to see clinical trials that are currently recruiting all around Australia, you can take a look at our Trial Finder here.