Research is in everything. Yes, you read that right. Everything. By this I mean that research is “put in” or “applied to” just about anything you can think of. Driving over a bridge? Research went into the stability of the cables, support of the structure, etc. Or maybe you are eating a turkey sandwich? Research allowed the grocery store to be just about certain the turkey they sold you was fresh and wouldn’t make you sick. So if research is in all that stuff, then we know certainly it applies to the drugs we take and the ways we mitigate disease. In my time thus far pursuing a Dual Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)/Masters of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) Degree, I’ve seen firsthand how this research is prepared, conducted, and presented to the public.
It may look like a bridge, but it’s really…RESEARCH! 😊
Let me break it down a bit here. So when a drug is thought up, discovered, or created, it is up to folks called Pharmaceutical Scientists to design, produce, and package that drug in different dosage forms to be used by humans. For more on that, check out the MSPS program and all it has to offer here.
From there, the drug undergoes pre-clinical testing, where it is tested for safety and effectiveness in small animals. If those go well, then the drug is tested in humans. These tests are called clinical trials. There are all different phases of trials, depending on what properties you want to study or what outcomes you want to see. The ultimate goal of these trials is to ensure that the drug is safe and efficacious, or that it does what it’s supposed to.
Once these studies are conducted, it’s a really big deal, and lots of money has gone into each study. So you want people to know about the work you’ve done! This is where publication comes in: the entire study is condensed into an article, reviewed by scientists and colleagues, and published in a journal. When it is published, it’s called primary literature.
This is where it gets interesting. The primary literature provides insight about small nuances concerning different diseases, drugs, and treatments. So when you take all of this in account, you can start to accumulate overwhelming evidence on how to treat a disease. This has become so commonplace that it is now an entire field of study, called evidence-based medicine, or the use of clinical trials and primary literature in the treatment of disease states.
Would you rather climb the mountain or have your head in the clouds?
Students who enroll in a dual-degree program at Campbell such as the PharmD/MSCR are trained in evidence-based medicine and able to make thoughtful clinical decisions by looking at primary literature and pairing it with a patient’s symptoms to better tailor an approach to suit their needs. I like to think of healthcare as a vast landscape, with mountains of clarity surrounded by valleys filled with the dense fog of information. What clinical research does is allows the practitioner to stop being clouded with so much information and climb the mountain of clarity to see the whole picture concerning a patient’s well being. A picture that contains novel therapies, new perspectives on established practices, and millions of patients participating in trials around the world. So why wouldn’t you want to use the tools clinical research provides and “climb the mountain” to better healthcare? I invite you to come check out the view from here, and see how clinical research can enhance your current career goals or perhaps provide you with a whole new career path. If you have any questions concerning the PharmD/MSCR program here at Campbell University, feel free to visit the website or contact Dr.Holland for more information. You definitely won’t regret it!
-Evan Lucas, P2