Trials4patients Richmond Pharmacology volunteer recruitment

A chance for a cure

The medical world continues to develop new treatments that are saving lives and cure diseases every day in every country. But have you ever stopped to consider the years of research that go into giving a sick person a chance for a cure?

Clinical trials are an essential and regulated part of developing new medicines and therapies. Volunteers for clinical trials help pharmaceutical companies to research drugs that cure diseases and help improve the standard of living for millions of people worldwide.

One area of clinical research is Bridging Studies. These types of studies are designed to compare the impact of medicines and therapies on different populations e.g. Japanese and Caucasian. It is crucial to comprehend how different races react to medicines and therapies as it allows for the distribution of approved medicines worldwide. The Japanese government requires that bridging studies are carried out at each stage of a drug's development before the new medicine can be licensed for distribution to the Japanese population.

In order to obtain a license for a new medicine, the pharmaceutical company who want to produce it must firstly conduct research into the medicine. Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) such as Richmond Pharmacology are commissioned to independently conduct such research.

This research involves several different stages:

  • Discovery
  • Laboratory
  • Healthy volunteers
  • Patients
  • Market & continued testing

Each stage must be reviewed and approved by a team of competent people before the research can progress.

Pivotal to conducting research into new medicines is the involvement of volunteers. CROs actively recruit healthy volunteers and patients to participate in clinical trials designed to determine the impact of new medicines on the human body.

Dr Ulrike Lorch

Dr Ulrike Lorch MD MFPM FRCA (Medical Director)

Dr Lorch of Richmond Pharmacology explained that the volunteers' safety is of paramount importance to all those concerned with the study. “Clinical research is a highly regulated practice and an essential component of medical healthcare. At Richmond Pharmacology we ensure that all volunteers have undergone a rigorous medical examination to determine their eligibility for trial participation. Once on a trial, volunteers are closely monitored by our team of highly qualified Research Physicians, nurses and clinical trial assistants. Our team includes Japanese staff across many departments including clinical and recruitment. This ensures the safety, comfort and convenience of our Japanese volunteers. We conduct our trials within an NHS teaching hospital providing 24 hour safety and support.”

Like the volunteers, the trials themselves undergo an extensive safety review. Before Richmond Pharmacology commits to running a study our team of highly experienced clinical pharmacologists will analyse the existing safety data gained from pre-clinical research. “We only commit to a study once we are satisfied that the existing data provides suficient evidence that the new medicine or therapy can be safely administered to healthy volunteers.” Continued Dr Lorch.

In addition to Richmond Pharmacology's own safety review all trials must have approval from the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and an independent Ethics Committee before they commence.

When asked about payment Dr Lorch explained “The payment of volunteers reflects the amount of time the volunteer spends in our unit. The payment is to compensate for the volunteers inconvenience and not for the type of medicine being tested.”

Originally published in Journey magazine.

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