Why is it important to take part in clinical research?
This International Clinical Trials Day, patients and volunteers and research staff share with us what taking part in research means to them.
Celebrating the first recognised clinical trial
Every year on 20 May, healthcare workers, researchers, patients and communities around the world celebrate International Clinical Trials Day – because on that day in 1747, ship surgeon James Lind started his famous clinical trial on scurvy and so laid the foundation for modern clinical research.
Today it is more important than ever for people to take part in research – after hearing and reading some of the reasons below, why not find out how you can join the millions of people worldwide who contribute to medical research?
Michelle, research participant said:
“I decided to join a research trial because my cancer returned and my doctors gave me two options, start chemo again or join this research trial. The nurses have been great, putting me at ease and have looked after me. The set-up feels different here than a hospital ward. It has made me want to take part in other trials in the future. Once you’ve joined, you feel committed and know that you’re making a real difference. Research is important because medicines won’t improve if you don’t help and take part.”
Vera, research participant said:
“I was invited to take part in a cancer trial by my doctor. I read through the notes and thought why not? If it doesn’t help me, it might help someone else in the future. Taking part in research is really important and I am thankful for the opportunity and that we have so much research happening in Cambridge. I would encourage anyone to take part in research if you get the chance. All the nurses are lovely and nothing is too much trouble.”
Thea, research participant said:
“My doctor suggested I join the trial and for me it felt like a last resort, but it has turned out to be more positive than I could have hoped for. The care I have received has been wonderful, from the nurses to the study team. The study team are always happy to answer any questions I have. I would encourage anyone to go on a trial. It’s a good routine and you always see the same people. It has been a good experience and it could help other people in the future.”
Emma, clinical research nurse said:
“COVID-19 made me realise just how important research is and that clinical trials can be life-changing. Working in research has been the best decision I ever made. I’m still working on a ward and providing patient care which is what I love, but I’m helping researchers find new medicines. It’s so fulfilling, it’s more than just a job, it’s for the benefit of others. It makes a difference knowing these trials could help so many people.”
Silvana, research support assistant said:
“I started as a cleaner at the CRF and I didn’t know then what research was. The CRF has shown me the importance of research and how it can help so many people. I see how lucky Cambridge is to have this facility. When I became a research assistant I was given all the training I needed, learning about research and what happens during a trial. I love supporting the staff and looking after all the wonderful patients who take part. Working here has been a great career move. It has given me so much confidence that I’m about to become a healthcare assistant and can look after more patients in the hospital.”
Erika, research sister said:
“I’ve been in several oncology posts but working on oncology and first-in-human trials is brilliant. The research is really fulfilling because you’re trialling something new and you’re thinking, ‘This treatment could change the future of medicine’. There are so many highlights working in research. I see how important clinical trials are and the difference we’re making to future patients. Our participants are amazing too, they all want to take part because they want to help others. I’ve never been a part of something so wonderful, and everyday I look forward to coming to work.”
Why people take part in research
You can find out the reasons why researchers, healthcare workers and patients across the Cambridge Biomedical Campus take part in research by visiting this page on the NIHR Cambridge BRC website.