About clinical trials
Clinical trials are research studies where interventions in human subjects – such as a new medicine, biological product, procedure, process or device; or a new application of an existing medicine, process or device – are tested. They are an important method for discovering and providing the evidence for treatments, as well as identifying new ways to detect, diagnose, prevent or reduce the risk of diseases.
Participating in clinical trials can give doctors and their patients early access to new and emerging treatments. Data from clinical trials can also help doctors discuss and make evidence-based decisions with their patients about appropriate treatment options and care. For a doctor to confidently prescribe a medicine, they need to know the medicine is safe and effective, that it won’t interact in harmful ways with other medicines and that it won’t produce serious side effects in their patient. High quality clinical trials can deliver information in these crucial areas.
NSW Government funded clinical trials in cannabis medicines
The NSW Government is committed to making NSW a preferred destination for research evaluating the potential of cannabis medicines to relieve the symptoms of serious conditions. The NSW Government has provided over $9 million towards clinical trials in five areas to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of cannabis medicines to:
- Reduce seizures in children with severe treatment-resistant epilepsy, through a partnership with the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network.
- Improve appetite and appetite-related symptoms in adult palliative care patients with advanced cancer.
- Prevent chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in adult patients where standard treatments have proven ineffective.
- Improve the control of symptoms, including pain, nausea and lack of appetite, in advanced cancer patients.
- Examine whether cannabidiol can reduce chronic pain in spinal cord injury patients and determine the mechanisms responsible for neuropathic pain.
These high quality clinical trials may generate evidence supporting cannabis medicines being registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) which could reduce out of pocket costs for patients.
National clinical trials
There are a number of other clinical trials of cannabis medicines underway across Australia exploring new and improved treatments, devices and products. Clinical trials must be registered on the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry and it should be free for patients to participate. We encourage patients who are interested in participating in a clinical trial to search the Registry with their treating doctor.
International clinical trials
Information about clinical trials underway internationally can be found at:
- The US National Institutes of Health: ClinicalTrials.gov
- The World Health Organization: International Clinical Trials Registry Platform
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