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In the News: Placebos and the Future of Clinical Trial Design
A recent article by the LA Times explained how investigations have found that the effects of placebos used in clinical trials may not be as inconsequential as study designers may have intended. Researchers investigated 176 drug studies and found that the vast majority of these studies failed to mention the contents of the placebos used. Placebo pills contain fillers thought to be inactive such as olive oil and corn oil. However, these polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats may actually exert effects that can reduce lipid levels. When used as controls in clinical trials for cholesterol-lowering drugs, therapeutic effects of the placebo could skew the perception of the drug benefit. Of course, not all cholesterol-lowering drug trials use this placebo, and this is only one example of how placebo fillers could affect the outcome of drug trials.
Days after the LA Times article was published, Irina Kulinets held a research seminar entitled “Trial Design: Ensuring Efficiency and Effectiveness in Research.” During this seminar, Dr. Kulinets, who currently serves as the VP of Regulatory and Clinical Affairs at Anika Therapeutics, described the basics of clinical trial design. Clearly elucidating the pros and cons of factors such as randomization and blinding, Dr. Kulinets concluded by elaborating on future trends in trial design that researchers as well as those aspiring to be involved in drug discovery and development should take into consideration.
Clinical trials are vital to the future of drug discovery and development. KGI recognizes that there are many variables to consider as well as industry trends to follow. Frequent seminars led by leaders in industry are just one way that KGI ensures that its students are on the cutting edge of industry knowledge.
Are you going to be in the Claremont area on Monday October 25? RSVP for the next seminar on clinical trials at KGI by clicking above. Join us as Matthew T. Thomas from the Food and Drug Administration Office of Orphan Product Development shares his thoughts on conducting clinical trials around the world.
By Christina Lai (MBS '11)