Clinical trials

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There are ways non-scientists can assess if the research underlying big claims about cancer cures stacks up. Rafael Anderson Gonzales Mendoza/Flickr

Spot the snake oil: telling good cancer research from bad

Cancer is big news; we often hear of some kind of cure for some version of the illness. But whether it’s a “natural cure” or a promising molecule on its way to becoming a new medicine, there are ways non-scientists…
Tourism isn’t just for sunshine and beaches. It can also be for unapproved medical interventions. IV via ARZTSAMUI/Shutterstock

Medical treatment not approved yet? No problem! Welcome to circumvention tourism

Medical tourism is the practice of seeking medical care across international borders. Countries with established medical sectors like the US, Europe, India and Thailand have been traditional destinations…
Vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea are common chemotherapy side effects that can be so severe that patients may refuse further treatment. Emergency Brake/Flickr

Why placebos for chemotherapy side effects are hard to swallow

It’s unthinkable to give a placebo to someone to treat their cancer, but could we use one to treat chemotherapy’s well-known side effects? Unfortunately, we may never be able to answer this question because…
Pills ok during pregnancy? We can’t know if we don’t study them. Medications image via www.shutterstock.com

Pregnant women must be studied too

Imagine being pregnant while having a chronic health condition such as diabetes, hypertension, depression or asthma, or being diagnosed with an illness while pregnant. Amazingly, your doctor may not know…
What if an experimental treatment seems to hold a terminal patient’s only hope? Pill bottle image via www.shutterstock.com

‘Right to try’ laws are compassionate, but misguided

On November 4, the state of Arizona will decide whether to join Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana and Michigan in passing so-called right to try laws. If passed, the “Arizona Terminal Patients’ Right To Try…
Bottled and ready to go. NIAID/SGK Handout

Why we need volunteers for the first human Ebola trials

The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has emerged rapidly and evolved with alarming ease. An unprecedented number of lives have been lost and WHO predictions are that the virus will infect in excess…
The idea of research reducing health-care costs may seem counter intuitive because it often leads to the development of expensive drugs, technologies, and treatments. EPA/ANGELIKA WARMUTH

With the right kind of research, we can reduce health-care costs

Quality health care can be expensive and medical research has traditionally been thought to play a role in making it so. But research can also help cut the cost of medical care. The notion of research…

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