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Over the last few years, the human body's microbial population has been the subject of numerous discussions and controversies. But few topics have sparked as much interest as the concept of fecal microbiota transplantation, or FMT. This rather easy procedure has become a lightning rod for debates ranging from its effectiveness to ethical issues regarding donations.
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Clinical trials, unlike other research, always involve humans. The studies are thoroughly reviewed by trained staff who decide whether or not the research is safe and ethical to perform on humans. These studies are performed with patient safety and confidentiality as a priority and you are always given a choice whether or not to participate.
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The statistics may differ from disease to disease, but the challenges with clinical trial participation are seen across the spectrum of medical research. Any delay a study faces due to difficulty in finding participants, leads to a huge waste of resources, money and most importantly time. Without enough volunteers to participate in medical research the development of better treatments and ultimately a cure for the myriad of diseases that impact us all, will not be possible.
One area where we can excel is in attracting more clinical trials to Canada. It fits extremely well into what our government is trying to do as we try to boost our economy. It also has the added value of making our publicly funded health-care system even better.
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They really are humans' best friend.
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The Canadian Pediatric Society has consistently called for an integrated national research strategy for children that will help streamline clinical investigation processes, and attract clinical trials from around the world to make research opportunities available to Canadian children and researchers.
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Even though research in the Parkinson's disease field continues to progress, there is still no cure for this disease that affects an estimated seven million to 10 million people worldwide. Still, progress is being made as we are beginning to understand the complexity of this disease.
The latest convergence of healthcare and smartphone technology is, an open source framework that allows developers to create apps specifically designed for medical research studies. The open source element makes these studies accessible to everyone, exploiting the power of the collective to continuously refine and build on existing technologies.
Clinical trials are designed to test new ways of treating, diagnosing or preventing cancer against the best available standard of treatment that is currently available. From questions about safety, accessing newer treatments, to wondering about the benefit to your own treatment, exploring what clinical trials actually involve can help you determine if one is worth considering.
Allowing someone with schizophrenia to remain in a psychotic state is cruel and harmful to the person, but that is what happened in a recent drug trial. But that is what happened in a trial conducted by Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Lundbeck Pharmaceutical to gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. earlier this year.
Improving the climate for clinical trials will also attract research investment which will in turn create jobs in healthcare and within the knowledge economy for Canadians. Clinical trials are the building blocks for innovation in healthcare and allow Canadians access to life changing innovations
Because my cancer was hormone-sensitive, I need to take a drug called Tamoxifen that is proven to reduce the risk of the cancer returning and possibly spreading to another part of my body. The newest recommendation is to stay on this drug for 10 years. Great news, right? A drug that could actually help keep me alive. I am lucky to have that option. Unfortunately, hormonal therapy for cancer comes with a whack of side effects. The biggest one for me is that I've been told not to get pregnant while taking it, due to its potential to cause birth defects.
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Until Health Canada chooses to honour its commitment to the auditor general, the FDA and OHRP may be the only health sheriffs in town.
Although some people like to paint the pharmaceutical industry as a villain, a substantial proportion of very useful drugs would simply not have seen the light of day if not for its contribution.