Clinical Trials Day – Why We Celebrate

As we approach Clinical Trials Day on May 20th, we want to highlight the significance of this day and why we celebrate it every year. This day provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate the tremendous advancements made in medicine through clinical trials and the people who make it all possible. Clinical research is critical for developing new treatments and finding cures for various conditions and diseases. Without clinical trials, many of the life-saving medicines and treatments we have today would not exist.

The first clinical trial.

Clinical Trials Day commemorates the first controlled clinical trial that took place on that date in 1747. The trial was conducted by James Lind, a Scottish physician, who conducted one of the earliest known clinical trials on the treatment of scurvy among sailors. Lind discovered that giving sailors citrus fruits and other fresh foods could prevent scurvy, which was previously thought to be a result of poor air quality on board ships. From that point on, there have been countless successful trials that have saved millions of lives.

Clinical trials have changed the course of history.

One prime example of a highly successful clinical trial is the development of the polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk. From 1953 to 1955, Dr. Salk conducted a clinical trial with 1.8 million children and found that his vaccine effectively prevented the disease. This discovery has changed the course of history and nearly eradicated polio today.

Initial trials for the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for the treatment of HIV/AIDS have changed the course of the illness. Until the mid-1990s, HIV/AIDS was viewed as a deadly disease with no cure and limited treatment options. However, a series of trials conducted on HAART demonstrated its ability to significantly suppress the replication of HIV, leading to improved immune function and increased life expectancy. The success of this research has also paved the way for developing other antiretroviral therapies and combination treatments, further improving the outlook for people living with HIV/AIDS and continuing to save lives.

Why we celebrate.

We view Clinical Trials Day as an opportunity to recognize the amazing participants of clinical trials. They are medical heroes that make new solutions, treatments, and cures possible. Their willingness to participate is a selfless act that helps improve the health and well-being of millions of people worldwide.

Since the first clinical trial in 1747, the impact has been massive and continues to change patient outcomes. We should not take the safety,  effectiveness, and advancements of medications and treatments available today for granted, which would not be possible without clinical trials. Thank you to the researchers, volunteers, and healthcare experts who make these trials possible.