Since ancient civilization, humans have been conducting clinical research. The early Egyptians, Babylonians, and Hebrews all practiced medical investigation, although their versions were closely related to their individual religions.

The earliest recorded medical investigations were not as rigorous as present-day trials, but simply trial and error tests. The first “clinical trial” was conducted by Ambroise Pare, a famous surgeon, in 1537. While treating wounded soldiers his supply of oil that he used for treatment ran out. He instead had to improvise and created a concoction from egg yolks, rose oil, and turpentine oil. The next day he discovered that those who were treated with his concoction were actually better off than those who were treated with the usual treatment of oil.

In the early twentieth century, the world began to change the way clinical research was conducted. This was the move to “well controlled” studies where placebos, control groups, etc. were involved. As society became more advanced, the FDA emerged. Tests were now required of drugs trying to enter the market, to prove their efficacy and safety. Beginning in 1962, drug companies would have to prove their medication worked and was safe. There currently are 116,724 registered studies in the United States according to clinicaltrials.gov.

Clinical Research in Present Day

When people think of clinical research they often think of monkeys in a lab, however this is not the case. “Research can mean a lot of things”, says Dr. Patricia Gerber from National Allergy & ENT. “Research trials come in many different forms. There are different levels of trials, or phases. Here at National Allergy & ENT, we conduct phase 3 trials. These trials are for drugs that already have basic underlying information. These trials have also already conducted phase 1 and phase 2 trials.”

Clinical research has improved and developed in tremendous leaps since ancient civilization, and the future of medications and research continues to change and develop. For more information on the National Allergy & ENT Research department, head over to our website. There you can find more information on the department, the type of trials done in the past, and what clinical trials are currently enrolling.

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Sources:

Junod, S. (2008). FDA and Clinical Drug Trials: A Short History. A Quick Guide to Clinical Trials, 25-55.

Clinical Trials. (2020). Trends, Charts, and Maps. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/resources/trends.

Bhatt A. Evolution of clinical research: a history before and beyond james lind. Perspect Clin Res. 2010;1: 6–10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21829774