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International Clinical Trials Day takes place on May 20 each year to celebrate and recognise the significant efforts of those who conduct clinical trials. 

The day provides an opportunity to acknowledge some of the achievements of clinical trials and research as well as emphasising the importance of clinical trials for improved patient outcomes.

Royal North Shore Hospital Research Nurse Linda Pallot recently celebrated her 50 year anniversary in nursing, with 25 of those years being spent as a research nurse working on clinical trials.

Linda said becoming a research nurse has allowed her to work on some life altering trials for patients.

“Being a research nurse is a wonderful career, testing new drugs or devices is ground breaking work,” she said.

“Some of the trials I worked on for Multiple Sclerosis went to market and have now become current treatments.”

Alongside getting to work and care for her patients, a highlight of Linda’s career was being awarded a Cure the Future Service Award for Therapeutics in 2016 for her work on gene therapy.

Linda said recognising days like Clinical Trials Day is important for not only achieving desired patient outcomes but also encouraging participation through awareness. 

“A clinical trial could be something simple that gives people hope – we all want hope,” she said.

“It’s also important to note that clinical trials are there for healthy people as well as sick people.”

The most enjoyable part is seeing the results of the trial being used across the world to help clinicians provide better care for patients
Associate Professor Anthony Delaney

Like Linda, Associate Professor Anthony Delaney said seeing the outcomes of clinical trials makes all of the hard work worth it.

Anthony, who is currently working on the Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Haemorrhage, red blood cell transfusion and outcome (SAHaRA) trial to help evaluate stroke treatment options, said the COVID-19 pandemic was a huge learning curve for those conducting clinical trials.

“While COVID has led to many challenges for intensive care units, it did speed up the use of novel clinical trial methods that delivered results much quicker than previous methods, and so we were able to introduce treatments that saved many lives,” he said.

Speaking on the importance Clinical Trials Day, Anthony said raising awareness around participation is one of the key factors in achieving trial results that can save lives.

“We can’t complete clinical trials without the patients being willing to be involved,” he said.

“The more people that understand the benefits that can arise from clinical trials, hopefully the more willing they will be to consider participating in a clinical trial.”

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