Clinical research growing and necessary

Recently published reports in the US say drug research increased by $2.7 billion in 2007 and pharmaceutical companies spent a total of $58.8 billion on research and development during the year.

Right now in the US there are about 2,700 medicines under development compared with only 2,000 five years ago.

Although I don't have any numbers specific to Canada, it probably doesn't surprise you to learn the pharmaceutical research industry is a huge and growing enterprise here and around the world.

I wonder if you are aware of the number of studies happening right here in our own community?

Right now there are 157 studies listed as current in the Kelowna area on, a website run by the US government, which lists ongoing or recently completed clinical studies.

Of the studies currently ongoing or recently completed in our area, there are 68 dealing with treatments for a wide range of cancers, 17 for psychiatric disorders, several dealing with chronic pain conditions, treatments for Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. In addition to these, there are ongoing studies in a huge variety of conditions from asthma and allergies to insomnia, pulmonary embolism and many more.

These studies are carried out at several different clinics and locations throughout the city including the Kelowna General Hospital, our cancer centre and other medical clinics as well as dedicated research centres such as Okanagan Clinical Trials.

All medical studies require volunteers from the community to participate and there are many opportunities regardless of gender or age. Chances are, if you have an illness and aren't satisfied with conventional treatment options, there could be an ongoing study for which you are qualified.

In past articles I have discussed the benefits of participating in clinical research.

By taking part in a study, the patient has the opportunity to play a role in helping the medical community understand disorders and new treatments.

Not only do study volunteers assist in advancing medical knowledge, but during drug studies there is also a chance the patient will be able to try a new treatment that may be very effective and all treatment costs are covered by the company sponsoring the study.

In my opinion, one of the best advantages to taking part in a clinical trial is the extra time and attention that is taken with patients. For every trial there is a dedicated team of medical professionals who work with participants, there are usually more visits to the doctor than in a regular medical setting and more time spent at each visit.

Doctors conducting clinical research get exposure to new therapies and learn in detail how the treatments work and whether they are effective. This experience gives them a broader knowledge base from which to treat patients in their regular practice.

Clinical studies are crucial for all areas of medicine. All medications given by prescription have gone through this process in order to gain approval. Without clinical trials, there would be no new approved medications or treatments for any medical conditions.

Unfortunately, there is always a shortage of suitable volunteers for studies. This is partly because many people who volunteer do not meet the usually very strict criteria for study participation. These shortages very often lead to long delays and mean new medications are not available as quickly as they could be.

I encourage anyone with a medical condition requiring treatment to ask about research opportunities. Not only will you receive the benefits listed above, but you will be doing a service to the community and all those experiencing the same health problem now and in the future.


Current Studies

 Alzheimer's Disease 


 Parkinson's Disease





 Interested in participating? Call us for more information!