My colleagues and I attended the Jacksonville Senior Expo 2014 last month. I was surprised by the number of people who thought that they were too old to take part in a clinical research study. We were happy to let them know that we have research especially for them! In fact a recent article in The Boston Globe “Oldest patients are often left out of drug trials” (Health & Wellness, 5/12/14) stressed the increasing importance of designing clinical trials to enroll individuals 65 and over to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new therapies in an aging demographic.
In April the FDA held a public meeting to seek comments on “how to improve age, sex, and ethnic diversity in clinical trials.” Although this issue was addressed as far back as 1989, it was never an actual FDA mandate to the pharmaceutical industry. Now we may see guidelines implemented as soon as this Fall.
In my experience, our “senior” research participants tend to be the most involved in the process. They enjoy being part of a community moving medicine forward. They appreciate “giving back”, and they value the opportunity to affect the potential health outcomes for their kids and grandkids.
So gone are the days when simply not being a healthy 30 year old male would exclude you from clinical research….
* Now for the caveat. Although Encore Research strives to provide ample research opportunities across our seven sites, there are still a few universal exclusions to research participation including: breastfeeding, pregnancy or attempting to become pregnant; unstable health (mental or physical), unless that is the specific area of study; active cancer or recent organ transplant. But before you despair, note that there are always exceptions. And as Bob Dylan so aptly observed…..”the times, they are a’changin’”.