Imagine waking up to the news that the vaccine you relentlessly worked upon has saved millions of lives across the globe! Clinical research is one of the noblest fields that attempt to improve the quality of life! It involves translating basic and advanced research involving human subjects into novel treatments and therapies. Indeed, with medical and pharmaceutical companies growing at a fast pace, there is a huge demand for proficient clinical research professionals. Let us look at what clinical research has to offer us in the near future!
What is Clinical Research?
Clinical research is an inevitable part of the health care system that is actively involved in drug discovery. It plays an important role in discovering new ways to detect, diagnose, and decrease the chances of developing a disease. It also aids in ascertaining the safety and efficacy of general-purpose drugs. Additionally, it attempts to find cures for acute or chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or cardiovascular diseases, that were earlier thought to be incurable. Clinical research plays a critical role in the development of interventions that improve the overall health of the world’s population. Findings arising from such reports provide invaluable and reliable information about the benefits and side effects of potential drugs and therapies. They empower medical and health professionals to choose between alternative treatments with greater confidence.
What are the Various Types of Clinical Research?
Clinical trials are an integral part of clinical research that focuses on fostering the development of novel drugs and comprehend disease mechanisms. In addition, the clinical research canopy includes research in epidemiology, pathophysiology, and health services. There are various forms of clinical research based on what the researchers are studying. Treatment and preventive research involve developing interventions such as medicines or therapies, whereas diagnostic and screening research focuses on finding different ways of identifying and detecting disorders. Furthermore, clinical researchers also undertake genetic studies with an aim to develop tailor-made therapies specific to the patient’s genetic make-up. Other forms of clinical research studies include observational studies, quality of life studies, and epidemiological studies.
Diverse Roles of a Clinical Researcher
- Recruitment and screening of participants suitable for the target study
- Briefing the participants and investigating team on how to conduct the trials
- Maintaining patient care in terms of health and progress
- Setting up trial study centres
- Monitoring the overall progress of the clinical trial
- Diligently handling all the paperwork related to trials
- Studying technical data and liaising with regulatory authorities
- Drafting drug trial protocols and methodologies
- Ensuring strict compliance of trials with rules and regulations
- Submission of all the relevant documents to funding organizations upon study completion
Career Opportunities as a Clinical Researcher
The minimum qualification to work as a clinical researcher is a graduate’s degree in biomedical-related fields like medicine or life science. Some positions may require a Masters, a Ph.D., or relevant experience based on the job profile. In addition to excellent communication skills, a clinical researcher needs to have problem-solving, and strong decision-making abilities. Expertise in compliance, research administration, and marketing are additional talents that help in landing a job in this field.
There are dozens of opportunities for candidates interested in building their careers in the field of clinical research. With a forecast of the clinical research industry growing exponentially, it is bound to open up new avenues of employment such as:
- Clinical Research Associate – This is usually an entry-level position for a fresh graduate. The key responsibilities are designing, implementing, and monitoring clinical trials and ensuring compliance with clinical trial protocols.
- Biostatistician – Clinical researchers may also dawn the role of a biostatistician and perform statistical analyses, generate reports that predict the occurrence of a disease, or evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments.
- Clinical Research Managers – For a manager, the important tasks include drafting and supervising study designs, generating case reports, and informed consent forms for clinical trials. They may also mentor clinical research staff, approve budgets, and regulatory documents.
- Clinical Trials Auditors – Clinical trial auditors must have strong knowledge about GCP, GMP, and GLP auditing processes. They conduct audits to assure compliance with the regulations in established guidelines.
- Drug Safety Associate – This profile requires a clinical researcher to manage and relay drug safety information and summarize clinical safety data.
Other lesser-known, yet important profiles include regulatory affairs manager, clinical investigator, pharmacovigilance manager, medical writer, and study coordinators.
The Future of Clinical Research
There has been a significant increase in the number of participants willing to participate in clinical research and possibly benefit from novel drugs and cutting-edge treatments. With a pressing need and increasing demand for new therapies, medical devices, and drugs, the clinical trials market is expected to grow markedly. Based on a recent analysis by Grand View Research Inc., the clinical pharmacovigilance market size is anticipated to touch the CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 13.2% by 2027.
To deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, health professionals, medical researchers, and regulatory bodies have fast-tracked clinical research. Furthermore, the pharmaceutical industry is growing at a robust pace with high investments in research and development sectors. Government initiatives have further motivated both small and medium players to enter the clinical research market. This has led to a huge demand for clinical research professionals adept at conducting trials and generating data on the safety and effectiveness of medicines, vaccines, dietary supplements, and medical devices.
Why A Career in Clinical Research Can be Life-Changing!
Clinical research is a fulfilling career, but a challenging one too! Service to society is a path of great joy and satisfaction but comes with a lot of responsibility. Constant advancements on the medical and scientific fronts keep you on a road of continuous progress. Dealing with people, mostly patients, makes you empathize with others, and in turn, builds compassion towards humanity.
Do you think clinical research is a prospective career choice? We hope that our article will be instrumental in helping you make the right decision!