Clinical trials are often misunderstood by the general public.

At best, they’re seen as a way to contribute to society by sacrificing your time and energy for the greater good of medical research.

At worst, they’re viewed in the dystopian light of giving up your medical privacy and freedom for the sole purpose of potentially increasing the profits of Big Pharma.

The reality, in contrast to the quite binary viewpoints above, is that there are several individual benefits that you can enjoy as a participant in clinical trials.

This article hopes to clear up any confusion that you might be experiencing when thinking about clinical trials such as “Why would I take part in something that isn’t guaranteed to work?

Furthermore, this article will serve as a clear-eyed discussion leaving you with nothing but the facts.

Facts are crucial to combat misinformation and instil certainty when talking about a topic such as clinical trials.

Before we get into the benefits of being a participant in a clinical trial, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page by describing what exactly a clinical trial entails.



What is a Clinical Trial?

In essence, a clinical trial is an integral research tool whose sole purpose is to advance medical knowledge which, in turn, improves patient care.

This tool is important for unearthing new treatments for diseases.

It also helps researchers discover novel methods for disease detection and diagnosis which can help reduce the likelihood of the disease developing to a significant point in the first place.

Another benefit of a clinical trial is that it elucidates that which cannot be learnt in the laboratory alone.

At the end of the day, doctors need to know if a treatment will work in humans and the only way to know for sure is by testing it on humans.

There are a multitude of steps to get to the point of requiring human volunteers for clinical testing but more on that later.

There are cases where patient volunteers have been hurt by a procedure but these are quite rare – medical research is extremely safe these days – and have resulted in millions of people being helped thanks to the new, more effective treatment that came about due to a clinical trial.

Of course, while medical trials are important, the choice to partake in one is a personal matter.

The decision to be a clinical trial participant should be seriously discussed between you and your doctor as it depends on many factors.

For one, your risks are unique from someone else so careful consideration is paramount to a smooth trial experience.

In fact, before even considering you as a clinical trial volunteer, the researchers will ensure that you fit certain health criteria.

The reasoning for this?

Well, there’s no point testing a novel cancer treatment on someone who does not have cancer, for example. It really is as simple as that.

You’re not a test guinea pig but rather a participant in one of the final steps in a long and scrutinous research process.

Usually, by the time a treatment reaches the ‘clinical trial’ phase, it has been found to be safe and possesses a chance of being effective.

How do they work though?

Well, each clinical trial has a master plan called a protocol which explains how the particular trial will work.

The trial is led by a principal investigator, or PI, who prepares the protocol for the clinical trial.

The protocol outlines what will be done in the trial and the rationale behind each step. 

Some key information in a protocol includes facts such as how many patients will take part in the trial, who is eligible to take part, what tests the patients will receive and at what frequency.

Furthermore, the protocol lists what data will be collected as well as the treatment plan that will be undertaken.

Everything is detailed. This is scientific research, after all.



The Benefits of a Clinical Trial

Now that we know what it takes to get to the clinical trial phase and the rationale for performing clinical trials, let’s have a look at the benefits on offer for you, a clinical trial participant.


1. Treatment that May be Free or Low Cost

Some clinical trials may pay for part or all of your treatment, other medical care, travel, and other expenses during the study. But not all clinical trials do this.

Make sure you know exactly what you’ll have to pay for before you agree to be part of a clinical trial.

If you are not being paid, remember that financial incentive is not the biggest benefit to taking part in a clinical trial – for that, we need to look at the next benefit on the list.




2. Contributing to Research that May Save Lives in the Future

Clinical research is concerned with curing diseases that afflict many people.

This is the kind of research that gets the most funding and is what gives it the potential to help thousands if not millions of people.

The best treatments we have available today are thanks to clinical trials and the selfless volunteers who were looking to help their fellow humans.

You can be a part of this legacy of contributing to the lives of others by giving up some of your time for the greater cause of humanity’s wellbeing.


3. More Personal Care

The research team that conducts clinical trials usually includes not just the main researcher but a whole team of scientists and doctors focused on this particular trial process. They work as a team to monitor the effects of the treatment.

Because of this close monitoring, any side effects you might have are noticed and dealt with immediately.

In general, researchers may provide you with medical care and more frequent health check-ups as part of your treatment than your regular doctor.


4. The Feeling that You are in Control

You can be aware of all the benefits and have the approval of your doctor but, ultimately, the decision to partake in a clinical trial is your decision and yours alone.

Deciding to be a clinical trial patient will give you more control over your medical situation.

This feeling of control can in and of itself lead to a more positive outlook and better quality of life.


5. Access to New Treatments

The trial will test a treatment, or part of a treatment, on you.

There is the chance that it will be more effective than the treatment you are currently using.

What’s also likely is that this new treatment will contain fewer side effects which will make your life significantly more comfortable if you are currently suffering from side effects from your current treatment.


Apply for a Medical Trial

You’re ready – you know the benefits, you understand the reasoning for clinical trials, and maybe you’d like to participate when you have the opportunity.

Over at Spoke Research, we specialize in inflammatory bowel disease research and trials.

We study new treatments, conduct tests and evaluate their effects on human health.

We have a professional team consisting of a gastroenterologist, a medical doctor, and an experienced G.I.T. nurse. You’re in good hands with us on your side.

If you’d like to participate in our clinical research as a patient, please apply to join a medical trial.



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Future treatments are now one step closer. 

Contact us

Spoke Research Inc
Mediclinic Milnerton,
Suite 109
Racecourse Rd, Milnerton
Cape Town


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