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Who Should Participate in Clinical Trials?

Extensive research is compiled from clinical trials.

The evolution of oncology treatments can be attributed to the extensive research and data compilation from clinical trials. These research studies are used to determine newer and more effective ways to treat cancer. They expand treatment options for all cancer patients. The more people participate, the faster the research can become legitimized as anti-cancer therapies.  Clinical trials provide patients with new and emerging therapies which may actually be better than current cancer treatments. It offers patients the chance to help others by improving treatments for other cancer patients. According to data, the implementation of clinical trials has an overall benefit of increasing the survival rate of cancer patients. However, there are only about 5% of cancer patients that actually participate, particularly within the demographic of adolescents and young adults.

What Are Clinical Trials?

A clinical trial takes two groups of patients and divides them into two groups. One is an experimental group and the other is the control group. The group that has been selected for the experiment will receive the new drug while the control group is given standard treatment. Researchers then compare the two groups depending on specific criteria, such as how well the cancer is affected and how long patients remain in remission. This information is then used to determine whether the drug is safe and effective. Other clinical trials may be used to determine better methods to detect cancer or improve quality of life with late stages of the disease.

 

There are different phases of clinical trials, all of which are necessary for approval of the treatment. Experimental drugs undergo four different phases. The first begins with a small test group of healthy people to determine dosage and side effects, while the second and third phases gather information on safety and effectiveness on a large group of patients.

While more patients need to participate in clinical trials, there are some things they should know.

Benefits and Risks

Nearly all current cancer treatments have been made possible by clinical trials. These trials are important for the overall improvement of treatments and eventual cures. Participating will offer patients first access to treatment that is potentially better than what would have been offered outside of the trial. Due to the experimental nature of the procedure, patients are also afforded better, more personalized care. It will grant access to advice and support that otherwise would not be available. Patients have more control over their health and have a much more in-depth understanding of their cancer. Participating in the trial is also guaranteed to benefit others with the data gathered and add to scientific knowledge for better methods in the future.

 

However, there are also plenty of risks to consider. There is no guarantee that a new drug is more effective, nor is there a guarantee it will not have more side effects. It may also be harmful or life threatening. Clinical trials are randomized, and so some patients may not be chosen for the experimental treatment. It may not work for some patients. The increased care requires more testing and time in the hospital than would be normal. These are all factors that cancer patients must consider when deciding to participate in a clinical trial.

Clinical trials require the right demographic for results to be successful.

Who Benefits the Most from Clinical Trials?

That depends. According to a concern posed by doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, patients who participate in the trials tend to be a completely different demographic than the patients that will be treated later. They tend to be younger, healthier and wealthier than the average cancer patient. More than half of US cancer sufferers are over the age of 60 and do not have the support network or resources that patients in the studies are privilege to. This means that when treatments are approved for use in the public, the results are drastically less promising than the clinical trials themselves.

 

The problem is that most patients within the demographic do not participate in the trials. There is an overall need for more volunteers across the spectrum. New, promising research cannot be conducted without participants and therefore stalls innovation. When it comes to natural treatments, the clinical studies are even less successful gaining volunteers and so it takes much longer for these to become approved.

Clinical trials need to be more well-known.

Natural Treatment Trials

Most patients are not aware of clinical trials and so due to the lack of information, they cannot participate in them. Natural treatments are not necessarily considered for these trials due to several different factors. Additionally, herbal medicines may have different quantities of the extract or herb in them due the lack of uniformity in their production. Companies are able to provide consistent products if only they were to use the best practices in obtaining the medicine. That is why The Beljanski Foundation focused efforts on finding the highest quality Pao pereira supplements as they could.

 

In order to combat the problem, The Beljanski Foundation compared several different dietary supplements containing Pao pereira. It was necessary that only the best be used for research. Only the highest concentration of the extract could be considered high quality and consistent enough to be effective. The Foundation found that most supplements claiming to have Pao pereira had very limited quantities, save for Natural Source which contained 962ppm of flavopereirine content. As told in Winning the War on Cancer, Dr. Mirko Beljanski developed the best extraction method which Natural Source adheres to, making it the only company which The Beljanski Foundation trusts to use in their research studies. With this product, Pao pereira has been tested in labs and has demonstrated that the only way to verify herbal medicines is to have a high enough concentration of the herb. This is the only way that results can be replicated and quantified. If more companies like were to adhere to responsible practices, clinical trials would be much easier to conduct. Once that can be taken care of, the other issue is informing patients who would benefit from participating in the studies.

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