What Success Looks Like
Welcome to another edition of Riding in Cars With Researchers! I am Dr. Jeff Kingsley and today we are going to talk about something fun! We are going to talk about what success in research looks like. Not long ago there was no such thing as an antibiotic. Just 100 years ago. Many, many women died in childbirth as a simple infection could be fatal. Not that long ago, childhood illnesses would kill children, or disable them for life, before vaccine therapy. Only a few decades ago, a stroke was far more likely to be fatal or cause immense lifelong disability than it is today because of our ability to intervene and remove or dissolve a blood clot by re-perfusing blood back to the area of the brain that needs it. It’s easy for us to look back in time, see these break-thru therapies, and treat them with awe.
But this is happening now! There are break-thru’s today in research and they are not few. There are break-thru therapies in dermatology, neurology, nephrology, rheumatology and certainly immuno-oncology, which is a new title. It used to be oncology but today it’s immune-oncology because of our ability to enhance your own immune system against cancer cells. These break-thru therapies are everywhere and that is wildly exciting!
About 1 in 10 investigational medications that enter the human research trial gain approval. And 1 in 10 is good. As we develop compounds more smartly, we can improve those ratios. We’ve done thousands of trials so you can imagine there are many medications on the market today that are there because of the work our medical heroes put in months or even years ago. The break-thru therapies that are happening today aren’t just small incremental improvements….they are dramatic! Many are as dramatic as an antibiotic. A few episodes ago I talked about Hepatitis C, which was a lifelong condition, yet today is completely curable. HIV was a terminal diagnosis several decades ago, but today you can live a long, full life. Therapies today are turning severe disease states into mild or non-existent, and that is absolutely amazing.
A Dramatic Example
I’ve had the pleasure of putting people into eczema trials who had severe eczema covering the majority of their bodies. And today they have almost no eczema to be found because of the biologics we helped get approved. I had a patient a few weeks ago who was finishing a trial in migraine headaches and she was in tears because the trial was coming to an end. Before the trial, she had 45 severe, debilitating migraines a month. While in the trial, she had maybe three, and when she had them they were shorter duration and far less intense. Before the trial, she was having a hard time with working, her marriage, and her children. But during the trial she was smiling, happy, engaged working individual. At the end of the trial she was in tears that it was ending, but last year we did a research trial on another compound hitting the same receptor that got FDA approval about a month ago to treat migraine headaches. And I had the pleasure of pulling out a prescription pad and writing her a prescription so she could go back on this break-thru therapy that will totally change her life when her migraines were previously crippling her.
Break-thru therapies are happening today. Get involved in research. It’s phenomenal!
Send me topics you want me to talk about at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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