From Abby: Clinical Trails.
Abby tackles clinical trials and that feeling of "catch-22" in today's post, and this is an issue that's very top-of-mind for me. I wrote an article about clinical trials in the latest issue of diaTribe, and I share a lot of Abby's concerns.
A few weeks ago, the Twitter chat #dsma topic was about clinical trials. There is and was a lot of conflict about this topic - online and in my mind. Last summer a few of us at Clara Barton Camp looked into participating in the Closed-Loop-System trial at MGH. It was something we fully believed in and seemed easy enough to help with. I personally couldn't do it because I was still in nursing school in NY at the time and didn't have a schedule flexible enough to spend the amount of time necessary in Boston for the trial. I know that another staff member at camp got through the blood test portion of the trial but found out she was still making a small amount of her own insulin, and was unable to further participate.
Clinical trials are a vital step in the process to approve new technology, medication, therapies - pretty much anything - through the FDA. I fully support the trial process (it's the scientist in me), I understand why it takes so long and I'm quite comfortable waiting for the FDA to be very, VERY sure that this product or system they're approving is safe for me. I know that every trial needs a lot of people to test on. I'm also more than willing to be that person... in certain cases.
I've been looking at trials for a few years now, on and off. Now that I'm living near a lot of the hospitals that are conducting the trials I'm looking into them more seriously and more in depth. There are trials for everything - from using asthma inhalers to raise blood sugar, to getting a full medical history of PWD to track disease process, to taking experimental medications. I know it's selfish, but I'm definitely not going to ingest, inject, or inhale any medication that hasn't previously been FDA approved or that could harm me or change my health in the future. I'm young, I'm healthy, and I have a lot of plans for my body in the future. That being said I know someone has to try these new things to find what works.
It's a catch 22, I guess. They need "me", and "I" want them to cure us, but "I" am not willing to try some of their methods. The question is, I suppose, who will? I think about this a lot, and I haven't changed my mind, but it is for sure something that pulls on my moral heart-strings.
For now though, I'll stick to applying to trials that won't permanently change me or my body, and trials that I believe can make our lives better. Not just for me, but for all of you out there, and all of the people who have yet to be diagnosed.
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Have you participated in clinical trials? Why or why not?