International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD)

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International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD) was celebrated in Canada and around the world on May 20, to mark the first clinical trial in history, conducted by James Lind in 1747. Lind, a Scottish naval surgeon, investigated treatments for sailors with scurvy, observing that sailors who consumed citrus fruit every day recovered from their ailment.

In the hundreds of years since Lind’s study, clinical trials have become an integral part of biomedical research.  More recently, Canada has become a leader in conducting clinical trials, especially those focused on cancer treatments. ICTD also takes on a special meaning in Canada this year due to the creation of both the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (3CTN) and The Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre (CCTCC).

While Canada has been a world leader in academic clinical trials, the trials still face many hurdles including complex ethical and regulatory systems, rising costs and limited funding. This is why partnerships and collaborations such as 3CTN and CCTCC are so important to improving clinical trial funding infrastructure and coordination. The creation of the CCTCC is part of Canada’s commitment to implementing the recommendations in the report To Your Health and Prosperity – An Action Plan to Help Attract More Clinical Trials to Canada. These types of trials seek to find the most effective use of healthcare resources, and are a critical step toward bringing new medicines and innovative medical devices safely to market.

The Clinical Trials Database is managed by Health Canada and provides a source of information about Canadian clinical trials involving human pharmaceutical and biological drugs. You can view information relating to phase I, II and III clinical trials in patients here: Clinical Trials Database (CTDB)

ICTD pays tribute to and recognizes all those who have participated in or are involved in the delivery of clinical trials and encourages people to consider a clinical trial as a treatment option.