Asthma research is an ongoing process that works to find better treatment solutions for asthma patients. Not only that, but asthma research also looks for the causes of asthma and how to best treat them. Research is done through clinical trials on volunteer patients. Have you ever considered taking part in a clinical trial for asthma research?
What is Clinical Research?
Clinical research is medical research that looks for new ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and/or relieve symptoms of a disease. This type of research also works to understand exactly how the human body functions and how each disease/condition works within the body. Clinical research is done with medical tests on patient volunteers; research may be either short- or long-term.
Research is done in academic medical centers and affiliated research sites. Clinical trials are conducted by research personnel (including doctors, technicians, etc.) and are sponsored by medical and pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions.
Types of Clinical Research
There are several different types of clinical trials:
1). Natural history studies: look for information about disease and health process.
2). Prevention trials: search for better ways to prevent disease in healthy people, or to prevent the disease from returning.
3). Screening trials: look for the best ways to detect diseases and health conditions.
4). Diagnostic trials: test diagnostic procedures for a specific disease or condition.
5). Treatment trials: consider new treatments, drug combinations, surgery techniques or radiation therapies for specific diseases and conditions.
6). Quality of life trials (also called supportive care trials): look for ways to improve the quality of life for those who have a chronic illness.
Who Can Participate in Clinical Trials?
Volunteers of many types participate in clinical trials. Some people are healthy, with no specific health problems. Clinical trials with healthy volunteers are done to develop knowledge about a new drug, device or other treatment. Healthy patients are used as “control groups” who are matched with patient volunteers in regards to age, gender, or family relationship. Healthy volunteers receive the same procedure or medication as the patient group. In this way, researchers learn about the disease process by comparing the healthy volunteers with the volunteer patients.
Patient volunteers, on the other hand, have a specific health problem. Researchers need patient volunteers in order to determine how to diagnose, treat or cure the disease/condition. Patient groups are typically paired with healthy groups, and may be further subdivided into control groups—depending on the type of trial and the trial requirements. There is no guarantee that the study procedures and/or treatments will directly benefit patient volunteers; however, the ultimate goal is to help others who have the same disease/condition.
Benefits and Risks of Clinical Trials
The same as everyday living, clinical trials do come with potential risks and benefits. Each study comes with its own specific risks that are described in detail before a person volunteers for the trial.
Potential risks may include complications that require medical attention and hospital stays. These may include serious complications from experimental therapies and treatments. Before agreeing to become a participant, be sure to thoroughly consider the degree of harm that may result from treatments/therapies in the study.
Potential benefits may include trying a new treatment before it’s available in other places, receiving regular medical attention, and helping others who have similar diseases and conditions. Some clinical trials also offer some form of monetary compensation to volunteers.
How Do Clinical Trials Make a Difference?
Clinical trials have brought us many new treatments including current asthma therapies, such as thermal bronchoplasty, and new asthma medications and new medication combinations. All of these treatments and therapies would not have been possible without clinical research and the volunteers who gave of their effort and time.
How Can I Get Involved in Clinical Trials?
You can find current lists of clinical trials by following the links at the end of this article. There are recognized academic institutes and organizations that conduct and sponsor clinical trials across the United States.
Being a volunteer for clinical research can be beneficial to yourself and others who suffer from asthma. Before becoming a healthy or patient volunteer, be sure to check with your doctor first. Your doctor is the best one to advise you on whether a clinical trial is right for you or not.
List of Clinical Trials
Copy and paste the link in your browser to be taken to the desired website.
The American Lung Association: http://www.lung.org/finding-cures/research-news/clinical-trials.html
Clinical Trials.gov: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=Asthma&Search=Search
Duke Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine: http://pulmonary.medicine.duke.edu/research/clinical-research/asthma-clinical-trials
Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics: http://www.aanma.org/health-topics/clinical-trials/
Baylor College of Medicine: https://www.bcm.edu/research/centers/asthma-clinical-research/
National Jewish Health: http://www.nationaljewish.org/professionals/research/clinical-research/clinicaltrials
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