Dr Chief Medical Officer HealthUnlocked, Matt Jameson Evans
Today, is International Clinical Trials day (20 May), which commemorates the day that James Lind started his famous trial that developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy.
Back in the 1700s the concept of vitamins, or that Scurvy was caused by a Vitamin C deficiency, was unknown. Since then thousands of clinical trials have taken place, leading to the development of drugs that play a very important part in our health and quality of life.
Every medical student is still taught about Lind’s experiment because he was the first person to observe the results of a group of patients on a treatment versus those given no treatment – what we now call the ‘control group’. This approach continues to be at the heart of clinical trials that look at which new drug treatments work and which don’t.
Up until now access to clinical trials has mostly been confined to the most motivated of patients. Very few of us have been offered access to a clinical trial or asked if we would like more information on them.
Yet, interestingly, over 70 per cent of HealthUnlocked members have indicated that they are interested in potentially taking part in clinical trials.
This is millions of people that are actively considering the potential research could play in their lives.
So how do we do we make sure the right people within HealthUnlocked are being given access to the right trial? By understanding the detail behind people’s HealthUnlocked profiles, symptoms, conditions and treatments we can identify what people may be are interested in, suitable for or have a health condition or illness they may have. This allows us to tailor and specify research information to individuals.
We realise that here at HealthUnlocked, we are in a unique position supporting many people with their health and this is one that we do not take for granted. We are committed to bringing some of the brightest and best research organisations and pharmaceuticals to our users, using the methods detailed above. And what we won’t do, is share people’s data directly with outside organisations.
We are committed to creating better health for everyone and clinical research access is only one way. The potential for this to change the way medicine and research works, should not be underestimated.