The Benefits For Patients
New treatments need to be developed and then tested. Participating in a clinical trial gives patients access to potential new treatments that might take years to be released to the general market. Although trials are generally randomised into standard treatment versus the new one, to determine the effectiveness of the new treatment, sometimes it is compared with the placebo if it is a disease process for which no existing treatment is known.
There is an excellent article about the benefits of participating in a clinical trial written by Jill Margo (Link).
In general, clinical trials are designed with rigorous inclusion criteria and testing methods. There is evidence that doctors and centres participating in clinical trials are more aware of treatment options and can offer better care, than those who do not. It is the discipline of organising the knowledge and treatment and the consistency of monitoring that promotes a high standard of care.
Retinology Institute, as a dedicated clinical trials examining room has international certified vision testing equipment and other facilities.
One of the most exciting studies was the LEAD study (Laser treatment for Early Age-related macular Degeneration); evaluating the potential role of 3 ns laser (link). The results of this masked randomised trial will be released after June 2018. The potential to reduce the rate of deterioration in macular degeneration is obviously a critical advance to delay progression to the more severe sight-threatening forms of the disease.
IONIS, the trial of an antisense inhibitor of complement factor B modifying drugs to delay the progression of geographic atrophy commences recruitment mid-2018. So far there is no proven effective therapy for “dry” AMD.
There are specific inclusion criteria so that patients who are interested in participating in the trial need a consultation and assessment of whether they are eligible.
Other trials are constantly becoming available too.