In 2018, a clinical research study was conducted that investigated a new combination therapy for patients with Anaplastic thyroid carcinomas (ATCs). ATCs account for less than 2% of all thyroid cancers diagnosed in the United States. They have a worse prognosis than other common forms of thyroid cancer. The survival rate for this type of cancer has a low, one-year survival rate.

For the first time in 50 years, the FDA approved the first treatment of ATCs and has become a new standard of care for these patients. Before this study, no chemotherapy treatment for ATC improved the patient’s quality of life or prolonged survival.

The Search for a Cure

Without clinical research, the 600 cases of ATCs diagnosed every year would face the same, grim prognosis that everyone in the previous 50 years faced. It is just one of the numerous reasons why clinical research is so vital. If you get through life without being diagnosed with a condition, or ever having to take any medication, you are lucky. However, many most of us will need medical intervention of sorts at some point in our lives.


The goal of clinical research is to cure a disease or condition. On the path to finding a cure, prevention, and improved treatment option possibilities are discovered that need to be proven effective. After being researched in a lab and with animals, the research will then investigate the safety and effectiveness as it relates to humans. So, if you’ve had a hip replacement, a pacemaker implant, or take blood pressure medication, you can thank clinical research. Other benefits clinical research brings are:

  • A better understanding of new ways to detect, prevent, and treat diseases and their symptoms.
  • Providing potential treatment options to those who have not been able to benefit from current treatments.
  • New ways to deliver an already marketed drug or device.
  • Investigating aspects of care and how to improve the quality of life in persons with chronic illnesses.

Volunteers and Clinical Research

It was 1922, and Alexander Fleming was a captain in the army medical corps. After observing the death of many fellow soldiers from infections developed from war injuries, he set on a course to find a better treatment. His research directly contributed to the discovery of the world’s first antibiotic, penicillin, in 1928.

Clinical research was still in its infancy at that time, but research still relies on volunteers to help determine if a treatment is effective and safe. When Fleming, afflicted with a cold, smeared some of his nose mucous on that petri dish, he became a volunteer for clinical research. If there are no volunteers, there is no research. If there is no research, there are no previously mentioned benefits.

If you are looking to learn more about volunteering for clinical research, click here to view a list of locations and contact information. If you are ready to volunteer for one of our currently enrolling research studies, please fill out our online form so we can help you locate a study right for you.