When you think of a clinical research study participant, you might think of someone who is actively benefiting from the experimental treatment – for example, a person with insomnia helping to test a new sleeping pill. However, healthy participants are just as important to clinical research study results. What role do healthy participants play in clinical research? Read on to find out.
What Role Do Healthy Participants Play in Clinical Research?
Who Qualifies as a “Healthy Participant?”
First, how do clinical research study organizers classify “healthy participants?” Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), healthy participants are defined as individuals “with no known significant health problems.” These individuals are often matched to patients in terms of age, gender, or family relationship. For example, if a teenage cancer patient enrolls in an experimental nausea treatment study, researchers might seek a healthy individual of the same age and gender to enroll in the same study. In that case, the individual won’t necessarily benefit from the nausea treatment – unlike the cancer patient, the participant isn’t experiencing nausea as a side effect of chemotherapy. The individual will, however, receive the nausea treatment so researchers can gather data on how they respond.
What Role Do Healthy Individuals Play in Clinical Research Studies?
When researchers gather data from healthy participants, they compare it to data gathered from other patients undergoing a trial. By comparing the patient group to the healthy group, researchers can draw important conclusions about the effects of a medical treatment. Consider the example cited above. If the cancer patient and the individual both experience trouble sleeping while on the experimental anti-nausea drug, that is important data for researchers to consider when bringing the drug to market. In that case, the researchers can reasonably conclude that insomnia is a side effect of the experimental drug – not a secondary side effect of the cancer patient’s treatment. In essence, healthy participants serve as “controls” in a clinical capacity.
Should I Participate?
Are you a healthy individual interested in making a lasting difference? Are you enthusiastic about the future of science, technology, and medicine? If so, you could make an excellent healthy participant for a clinical research program. If you’re interested in getting involved, you can start by joining the registry for the NIH’s Clinical Research Volunteer Program. The program matches potential individuals to clinical research studies depending on eligibility criteria. For example, if you are a healthy, nonsmoker in your mid-thirties, the study team will contact you if they’re seeking individuals that fit that criteria. If you’re eager to get started, you can also search for studies on the NIH database using the keyword “healthy.”
So, what role do healthy participants play in clinical research studies? Participants essentially serve as a control group during clinical research studies. By providing a comparative framework for researchers, healthy participants have the opportunity to make a real impact on the future of medicine.
Have you ever thought about participating in a clinical research study? You could be a part of history! QPS Missouri is looking for new participants. Since opening its doors in 1994, QPS Missouri has conducted more than 1,500 FDA-regulated studies, paying out nearly $50 million to local participants. Your local participation could have a global impact, as QPS is an international leader in contract research with facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia. Our mission is to accelerate the development of drugs worldwide by enabling breakthroughs in pharmaceutical innovation. This includes several pediatric studies across several age ranges. If you would like to join us in this crucial healthcare mission, consider applying for a clinical research study.
To get started, you simply need to fill out an online application. After that, within 48 business hours, a recruiting coordinator will contact you for your pre-screening assessment. To learn more, please visit the QPS Missouri website, review the study participation process, or check out our list of frequently asked questions.