Today marks International Clinical Trials Day.
Clinical Trials Day is a well-deserved ‘time out’ to recognise the people who conduct clinical trials and to say thanks for what they do every day to improve public health.
This day of celebration also provides our community with a unique opportunity to raise awareness of clinical trials – and of clinical research as a career option – among the greater public.
Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world in May to recognise the day that James Lind started what is often considered the first randomised clinical trial aboard a ship on May 20, 1747.
Aboard HMS Salisbury, surgeon mate James Lind, a pioneer of naval hygiene, conducted what many refer to as the first clinical trial. Acting on a hunch that scurvy was caused by putrefaction of the body that could be cured through the introduction of acids, Lind recruited 12 men for his “fair test.”
From The James Lind Library:
Without stating what method of allocation he used, Lind allocated two men to each of six different daily treatments for a period of fourteen days. The six treatments were: 1.1 litres of cider; twenty-five millilitres of elixir vitriol (dilute sulphuric acid); 18 millilitres of vinegar three times throughout the day before meals; half a pint of sea water; two oranges and one lemon continued for six days only (when the supply was exhausted); and a medicinal paste made up of garlic, mustard seed, dried radish root and gum myrrh.
Those allocated citrus fruits experienced “the most sudden and good visible effects,” according to Lind’s report on the trial.
To mark the day, we have launched a campaign at Velindre Cancer Centre to improve awareness of clinical research among both patients and staff who are not involved directly in research.
Historically, there has been a fairly low level of awareness about trials (what they are, how to take part, what taking part means) among patients. The Tell Me More campaign encourages people to speak to their clinicians about opportunities to take part in research.
We have produced a series of educational resources including posters, banners, leaflets and a video to help improve knowledge of clinical trials. You can watch our video below:
Over 250 years after James Lind’s first experiment, clinical trials continue to be a vital part of developing new treatments and improving patient care. Keep an eye out on our social media channels to hear more about our trials work throughout the week.