With the way that science and medicine have advanced over the course of the last couple of hundred years, it sometimes seems surprising that there is not a cure for every known illness and condition already. To be sure, there have been great advances, and many people are here today because of the medical progress that has taken place. But there is always more to learn. As we learn more and more about the world around us, we become aware of new diseases as well. These discoveries can be seen as a good thing, as the discovery of its existence marks the point that working toward a cure can begin.
The modern world and the modern human body
There are many people who also suspect that the way our species is currently living has something to do with the introduction of new diseases, illnesses, and conditions. Much of the food that is grown cannot always be considered natural anymore after they have been genetically tampered with. Much of the meat that we consume is pumped full of different hormones, antibiotics, and who knows what else. And much of the rest of the food that we make a part of our diets is completely processed. We live in a world that is in many ways far more advanced than the world of our ancestors. But our bodies are certainly not treated as well on many levels.
Clinical trials for new treatments
As the medical and scientific communities learn more about the world around and the worlds within us, there are more needs for new medications and treatments. In order for a drug or treatment to become a standard prescription in response to a particular illness or condition, there must be numerous medical research studies conducted. The discovery of a cure or treatment for something that plagues people is exciting, but there must be enough information to accurately determine and prove that the drug works the way that it is supposed to. This is where clinical trials come in. In the different phases of the trials, more information is gathered as it is administered to larger groups of people.
Of course, before even attempting Phase 1 clinical trials, there must be enough proof that the drug will not do harm to those taking part in the clinical study. Clinical drug development and studies are important to the advancement of medicine and learning more about a particular condition or disease. In fact, around 46% of people see participation in clinical trials to be as valuable to the system of health care as donating blood, though a solid 96% had never take part in one.
The phases of clinical studies and trials
In order for a drug or treatment to be allowed to be passed on to the public, it must go through a series of tests first, known as the different phases of the trial.
- Phase I During this phase, the drug is tested in a small group of people, usually numbering anywhere from 20 to 80. This is the first look at the drug’s safety and possible side effects.
- Phase II At this point, the treatment is given to a slightly larger group of individuals, typically around 100 to 300. During this stage, it is being examined for effectiveness and again for safety.
- Phase IIIThis is the point where anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 people will be administered the drug. Another stage of information collection about effectiveness, side effects, and safety, this is the phase during which the treatment can start being compared to existing similar treatments.
- Phase IVAfter more data collection, the medical trial team will submit a New Drug Application for approval. The process of gaining this approval gives many new drugs a very slim chance of ever going on the market with FDA approval.
There are many ways that our species has drifted from the natural ways of our ancestors. But hopefully, with the continuously advancing science, technology, and medicine, conjoined with a newly developing awareness of responsibility to the planet and people around us, we can get to a place of worldwide health and happiness.