|Clinical trials are a vital component of the continued search for safe and effective treatments. Along with the researchers, the patients and healthy volunteers who participate in testing devices, diagnostic procedures, new drugs, and new uses for established therapies contribute to the advancement of knowledge and patient care. The following data provide a glimpse into this important aspect of research.|
The national website ClinicalTrials.gov, a service of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) that provides information for patients and families, researchers, and study record managers, currently lists 158,491 clinical studies, including locations in all 50 states and in 185 countries.1 As of January 5, 2014, there were 31,642 studies recruiting participants; 44% of these are recruiting only in the United States.2
ClinicalTrials.gov was made available to the public on February 29, 2000. As of January 5, 2014, there were 84,392 interventional studies of drugs or biologics registered; 8645 studies had posted results.2
Established in 1953 and expanded in 2005, the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, is the largest hospital in the United States dedicated entirely to clinical research. Currently, approximately 1500 clinical research projects are under way, about 50% of which are devoted to the study of diseases, especially rare diseases. Clinical trials of new drugs, predominantly phase 1 and phase 2, account for most of the remaining research. The NIH Clinical Center staff includes approximately 1200 physicians, dentists, and PhD researchers; 620 nurses; and 450 allied healthcare personnel.3
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), only 5% of cancer patients currently participate in clinical trials.4 And although 61% of new cancer diagnoses are made in the elderly, they make up only 25% of the participants in cancer clinical trials.5 To help address this issue, the ACS website provides a video for clinicians titled Raising Awareness about Cancer Clinical Trials.4
5. Lewis JH, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2003;21(7):1383-1389.