A new book about clinical trials by a subject who was cured of type 1 diabetes tells 20 million Americans now enrolled and the millions more considering enrolling in trials everything they need to know to stay safe and informed.
Chasing Medical Miracles
THE PROMISE AND PERILS OF CLINICAL TRIALS
by Alex O’Meara
“When O’Meara was presented with an opportunity to participate in a clinical trial—which may or may not have cured his type-1 diabetes—he embarked on a quest to slake his journalist’s curiosity. More than merely chronicling his own personal experience, however, he sweeps through the entire industry of clinical trials to amass a compendium of available knowledge and explains how clinical trials are now conducted, here and abroad.” – Booklist – Starred Review
“Enjoy this bracing tour through ‘the history, horror, and headaches’ of clinical trials, described by a guide with both a detached delivery and knowledgeable perspective… O’Meara presents lessons from a medical front that offers something more important than success or failure—hope.” - Publishers Weekly
Hailed as a “harsh, firsthand look at clinical research,” CHASING MEDICAL MIRACLES: THE PROMISE AND PERILS OF CLINICAL TRIALS delves into the murky world of clinical trials and reveals why they are, as one prominent doctor calls them, “the dirty little secret of medicine.”
More than 20 million people in the U.S. are enrolled in clinical trials – a number that in the last decade has tripled to create a $24 billion a year industry comprised mostly of private research companies, that functions with scant oversight. Sponsors of clinical trials, for example, can pick and choose which trial results they release: Out of 74 clinical trials for 12 antidepressants, 94% of the drug trials that yielded positive results were published while a mere 14% percent of the unfavorable results were released.
Author and journalist Alex O’Meara provides a unique, insider look at clinical trials. As a diabetic for 30 years he took part in a risky, experimental transplant in 2004 that cured his condition but at a very high personal cost. His own wrenching experiences as a subject led him to explore how clinical trials function and to uncover the kinds of financial, intellectual, and emotional investments made by researchers, subjects, and millions of others who participate in the system.
O’Meara’s objective, balanced investigation uncovers serious issues that need to be addressed while also making clear how clinical trials have led to epic advances in health care. CHASING MEDICAL MIRACLES is published at a crucial time when participation in clinical trials is increasing dramatically as more Americans lose their health insurance and turn to trials as a medical treatment option – an option that carries with it dangerous consequences for patients, subjects, and health care in general. Understanding the phenomenon of such participation provides valuable insight into where medical care is headed because, as O’Meara states in his introduction: “Trials are the nascent form of our health-care system; they are the first stage of tomorrow’s new medicines, devices, and procedures. Clinical trials hail the very future of medicine.”
Alex O’Meara is a freelance journalist who has worked for the City News Bureau of Chicago, Newsday, the Baltimore Sun, and many other media organizations. In an effort to cure his type-1 diabetes, he participated in a risky clinical trial to receive a transplant of islet cells from several cadaver pancreases. This is his first book. He lives in Bisbee, Arizona.
CHASING MEDICAL MIRACLES
The Promise and Perils of Clinical Trials
By Alex O’Meara
Publication date: June 16, 2009
ISBN- 13 978-0-8027-1696-5
$25.00 Hardcover • 5 ½ x 8 ¼ • 272 pages
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