Why Are Clinical Trials Important?
Clinical trials are a very important step in discovering new treatments for diseases, as well as new ways to detect, diagnose, and reduce the risk of those diseases. Without clinical trial participants, the diagnostic tools, courses of treatments, and other medical interventions that researchers are working hard to develop could not be tested to determine how well they really work.
What Is A Clinical Trial?
A clinical trial is any research study in which humans or groups of humans participate and follow one or more health-related interventions as prescribed by the study facilitators. The effects of those interventions are evaluated to determine whether they affect health outcomes, and if so, to what extent. To learn more about clinical trials, click here to reach the NIH's (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) excellent informative web pages, "About Clinical Trials."
Research in the Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center, partially supported by PERF, has achieved major contributions to the understanding of exercise intolerance in COPD patients. Established in 1998 at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed), it is dedicated to top level clinical research.
Major achievements include:
- Demonstrated that vigorous exercise is capable of markedly improving exercise tolerance, even in patients with severe lung disease.
- Evaluated the utility of strength training programs in improving functional capabilities and strength of patients with COPD.
- Expanded the understanding of the utility of oxygen therapy in improving the exercise tolerance of COPD patients who do not meet the usual criteria for requiring supplemental oxygen.
- Investigated new oxygen conservation strategies to improve the utility of ambulatory oxygen therapy.
- Evaluated new bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory drugs intended to improve lung function and exercise tolerance in COPD patients.
- Established the value of pursed lip breathing techniques in patients with emphysema and bronchitis.
- Defined abnormalities in muscle function in patients with lung disease that can limit exercise tolerance.
- Showed that an appetite stimulant was effective in increasing body weight in underweight COPD patients.
- Completed a study showing that anabolic drugs can increase muscle size and strength in men with obstructive lung disease.
Thanks to patient participation in clinical trials, researchers and medical service providers are making continuous advances in the diagnosis, care, and treatment of pulmonary disease. If you are able, we urge you to participate in a clinical trial near you. Please check these links often to find out about the latest clinical trials underway both here in the South Bay, California, and across the country.