“A poorly designed study is simply a waste of time”, (page 129). In chapter three of Rigor Mortis Richard Harris focused on all of flaws experiments to find a cure for Lou-Gehrig’s disease possessed. Not only were the medications tested in clinical trials completely useless but the experiments themselves were far below average, leaving sick ALS patients with false hope and costing the National Institute of Health hundreds of thousand of dollars.
“The failure of experimental drugs that had once looked promising could have been prevented with better animal studies, according to a re-examination of past clinical trials”, says Erika Check Hayden in an article written for nature.com. Many ALS patients waste their one opportunity to get into a clinical trial on a medication that has no chance of having an effect. In many experiments far too few test animals are used to keep costs low and end up with false results that gets published. When experiments like these are rerun in proper testing conditions completely different results arise frequently proving that the medication that went on to a human clinical trial is useless.
To prevent experiments that are not conducted properly The National Institute of Health implemented many rules to ensure that the tests scientist run are worth all of the time, energy, and money invested in the experiment. These guidelines include that when scientists put in an application for a grant they must be able to prove that the cells that they’re using are actually what they’re supposed to be, they must be able to prove that they have considered the gender and type of animal they will experiment on, and they must prove that they are well researched and have spent time finding the strong, underlying science for their experiment. “These steps are hardly cure-alls, but they are moves in the right direction”, (page 136).
Thank you for reading, Ahna S.