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Digital Subscriptions > Nexus Magazine > Dec 2015 - Jan 2016 > TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS EAR LATIONS THE TRUTH ABOUT ABOUT CLINICAL RESEARCH

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS EAR LATIONS THE TRUTH ABOUT ABOUT CLINICAL RESEARCH

Many people willingly participate in clinical trials that test products and treatments, but few are inclined to volunteer for pharmaceutical drug trials. Even though strict guidelines are mandated, testing on humans can have unforeseen consequences.

© October 2015

Email: leonhorton@live.co.uk

Volunteering for clinical research trials can be a rewarding experience, not least financially—or so the literature would have us believe. To offer oneself as a guinea pig for the future benefit of others is undoubtedly a selfless act, but under what safeguards are these studies conducted? What sort of people volunteer for them? And what would they say to anyone interested in getting involved? An occasional test subject, I have put clinical research under the microscope…

"You don’t want to do that—you might grow a second head." Thus opined my friend when I told him I’d signed up to test a new hygiene product for some extra cash. Quite how a mouthwash might result in an extra noggin is anyone’s guess; but with several high-profile accusations of clinical malpractice levelled at pharmaceutical and drug-testing companies in recent years, I decided to conduct a little research of my own.

With the announcement in September 2014 that the UK National Health Service (NHS) communications manager, Ruth Atkins, had volunteered to be injected with an Ebola vaccine containing genetic material from the Zaire strain of the virus, the media were champing at the bit with speculation and doom mongering. Few seemed interested in reporting that the vaccine is based on a benign cold-like virus found in chimpanzees, that it cannot cause the volunteer to develop Ebola, or that it simply allows the recipient’s cells to release a protein and thus create an immune response. That wouldn’t make good copy. Rather, it seems, the media prefer to wait with ready-made headlines, hoping for the kind of negative coverage that sells newspapers—and, yes, I can see the irony in that statement given the very nature of this article.

I think much of this is psychological: say "clinical research" and most people, like my aforementioned friend, presume you mean "drug testing" and will regale you with second-hand horror stories of exploding brains, spontaneous sex changes and the acquisition of tertiary nipples.

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About Nexus Magazine

In the December 2015 - January 2016 issue we have articles covering: PROJECT CENSORED’S TOP 25 NEWS STORIES; TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS: CLINICAL RESEARCH; HOW TO MANAGE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM; SACRED SOLIDS IN THE ATOMIC NUCLEUS—Part 2; NAN MADOL, CITY OF SPIRITS; SHADOW OF NEMESIS—Part 2; and SCIENCE NEWS, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, GLOBAL NEWS and more.