Clinical trials play a vital role in how a product is shown to be safe and effective before they can be approved for treatment by Medsafe in New Zealand. Roche has an industry-leading pipeline with 72 compounds in clinical development globally and over 40 active clinical trials in New Zealand, making Roche a leader in clinical research in the country.
Our trials cover a range of diseases such as cancer (various solid tumour types and cancers of the blood), multiple sclerosis, haemophilia, and asthma and other diseases of the lung.
Roche follows stringent principles, regulations and guidelines to ensure that we not only maintain the highest ethical standards in our research, but that volunteers and patients are exposed to the lowest risk possible. To ensure this, our clinical research teams work closely with New Zealand’s clinical research experts, as well as New Zealand’s ethical and regulatory bodies.
Clinical trials by the numbers
What is a clinical trial and how does a trial work?
Clinical trials are medical research studies that involve people. New drugs are first studied in a laboratory, and those that look promising go on to be carefully studied in people through clinical trials.
The aim of a clinical trial is to test new drugs to see how well they work in helping people feel better, or in helping a disease to improve or stop getting worse. Clinical trials also test whether new drugs are safe and if they have any side effects. Without clinical trials, there would not be enough proof that a new treatment works and is safe. All current drugs that are available to you, either at the hospital or from the pharmacy, have been carefully tested through clinical trials. There is evidence that shows how well these drugs work and if there might be any side effects. This information is vital to help doctors understand which treatments are the most suitable for their patients, and for official groups (called the regulatory authorities) in each country or region to decide whether to approve a drug for use.
Although the aim of a clinical trial is to find new, better treatments, not all clinical trials result in a better treatment. A new drug may not work as well as drugs that are currently used or may have worse side effects. However, even this information is very useful to the trial investigators and goes on to help patients in the future.
There are many reasons why people agree to take part in a clinical trial. The important thing is that they understand the trial and give their consent to take part, whatever their reasons.
Why should I take part in a clinical trial?
Aside from advancing medical knowledge towards the discovery of new treatments, clinical trials bring many benefits to patients and the broader community.
- Helping future patients – Many people agree to take part in a clinical trial to help progress medical science. Clinical trials make a huge difference to the lives of patients further down the line and some people like to know that something positive can come out of their illness.
- Personal benefit – Many people also join a clinical trial in the hopes of personal benefit. Some patients may hope that the new drug can help them if all other options have been tried. Other people join to learn more about their condition or because they feel that a trial will give them faster access to specialised healthcare.
Whatever your reason for thinking about joining a clinical trial, it is important that you talk to your doctor or healthcare team, to discuss the possible risks and benefits and to make sure that you understand what the trial will involve before you join.
Watch our video, “Drawn to Science: Clinical Trials”, to learn more about clinical trials.
Participating in a clinical trial
Roche conducts clinical trials in New Zealand in the areas of oncology, haematology, neuroscience, ophthalmology, immunology and infectious disease. For more information about participating in a clinical trial, speak to your healthcare professional or relevant patient group.
Current clinical trials being run in New Zealand can be found through the following websites.