clinical trials test tubes

Have you heard of Clinical Trials Day? What it is and why it’s important?

After the resounding success of our Clinical Trials content and articles we created last year to answer some commonly asked questions, we have decided to update and deliver new answers to queries often asked by graduates and those looking to begin a career in clinical trials. All to help highlight the vital importance clinical trials have to not only the pharmaceutical industry but to global health as a whole.

International Clinical Trials day takes place around the world on (or around) the 20th May each year. The awareness day was first set up in 2005 to commemorate the day that James Lind conducted the world’s first clinical trial, investigating the prevention of scurvy in sailors at sea in 1747.

Lind’s trial took place on the British Naval patrol ship, HMS Salisbury, where he was stationed at the time as a surgeon mate.

During this time, scurvy was considered to be more lethal to the British navy and other seamen than fighting with the French or Spanish fleets.

As an advocate of hygiene within the British naval force, Lind theorised that by introducing acids into the diet of seamen within the navy, he could eliminate scurvy.

To conduct his trial, Lind enlisted the help of 12 seamen and randomly split them into 6 groups all with different treatments, in order to observe them for the next 14 days.

The six treatments that he tested were:

  • One 25mls dose of diluted sulphuric acid per day (at the time it was known as elixir vitriol)
  • Roughly 1litre of cider each day
  • Half a pint of sea water per day
  • Three doses of 18mls of vinegar a day
  • A paste made from mustard seeds, garlic, gum myrrh and dried radish root
  • One lemon and two oranges eaten daily

Although the last group only took part in the trial for 6 days till the supply of fruit ran out.

Despite this, Lind’s report noted that the participants in the final group exhibited “the most sudden and good visible effects” out of all others.

As a result of his report, Lind is recognised for comparing “like with like”, his trial format having shaped the clinical trial process that we see today.

Scientist at work in a laboratory

Clinical Trials Day 2018

Although Clinical Trials play a vital part in healthcare, there are still issues with access and awareness.

Statistics from the National Institute for Health Research stated that over 665,000 participated in clinical research studies in 2016-2017 and it continues to rise year on year. Despite these high numbers many people within the UK and around the world are still unaware that trials are happening or how they can participate in them. There could be trials running that involve conditions or health issues they may be living with.

Over the years, many different organisations have come together on clinical trials day and created campaigns that not only boost awareness but also help to honour the research professionals that take part and contribute to public health.

One of the most successful campaigns is the NIHR’s “I am Research” which provides life science professionals the platform to publicise the benefits of clinical research, its importance and the impact it has on many people’s lives.

How can you take part?

If you would like to take part in a clinical trial you can find information about active trials at the UK Clinical Trials Gateway, this is a service that enables people to join existing and future trials with the UK whilst providing information on how they operate and further support.

For a more academic/professional role within clinical trials, we also provide the Clinical Professional’s Training Academy.

The successful and accredited academy features fully funded courses that train UK life science graduates and deploy them into first to industry roles within the Clinical Research sector, such as Clinical Trial Administrator or Clinical Research Associate which are essential roles within clinical trials.

For more information about our Training Academy please visit our website here, or you can contact a member of the academy team via email at or call 0118 959 4990.

Over the course of the next few weeks Clinical Professionals will be posting and sharing articles relating to clinical trials, including the future of clinical trials, how they work and how to get a career in clinical trials.

Industry News