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2021 Clinical Trials Day is May 20

May 20, 2021

A doctor speaks with a patient

In March 2020, when the pandemic hit, there were no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19.

A little more than a year later, much of the world is being vaccinated, and fewer people with COVID-19 are dying — kept alive and off ventilators with the help of approved treatments.

None of that would be possible without clinical trials, which happen at VCU Massey Cancer Center every day.

International Clinical Trials Day on May 20 is a chance to engage with patients about the value of their participation in clinical trials. And it celebrates the tireless work of the doctors, nurses and staff that make clinical trials happen.

On May 20, 1747, Scottish physician James Lind conducted the first clinical study of the treatment of scurvy on 12 sailors. Lind discovered that, of six therapies, oranges and lemons had the greatest positive effect on sailors’ health.

Today at Massey (as of May 11, 20201), there are:

  • 148 clinical trials open to enrollment
  • 3,894 participants enrolled in those open trials

Clinical trials at Massey offer cutting-edge treatments for cancer, giving hope to patients facing a difficult disease. Also at Massey are cancer prevention studies for those without a cancer diagnosis, as well as trials studying interventions to lessen cancer symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatment, ways to improve survivorship and decrease the chances of cancer recurring, and better methods for cancer screening and detection.


Last year, Massey researcher Arun Sanyal, M.D., member of Massey’s Cancer Biology program and professor and eminent scholar in the Department of Internal Medicine at the VCU School of Medicine, led clinical trials at VCU Health for remdesivir, which became the first drug authorized by the FDA to treat COVID-19. Several ongoing studies test the efficacy of other drugs and treatments in fighting COVID-19, as doctors continue to learn more about the novel coronavirus.

This year, it’s never been clearer: Clinical trials advance medical research, save and improve lives, and create a healthier future for us and our families.

What is it like to participate in a clinical trial?

Howard Reich shares his clinical trial experience and says the trial therapy he received for pancreatic cancer is the reason he’s here today.


Kathy White shares her experience participating in a clinical trial for COVID-19.


Reed Whitener shares his experience participating in a clinical trial and how the therapy he received on trial is the reason he is now cancer-free.

What can I do to celebrate Clinical Trials Day?

  • Talk to your doctor about clinical trials. Ask them what trials might be right for you.
  • Find a clinical trial at Massey or visit VCU’s StudyFinder for studies enrolling at VCU and VCU Health.
  • Sign up for ResearchMatch to get notifications about future studies. Fill out a survey and ResearchMatch will tell you what studies you qualify for — at Massey, VCU Health and beyond.
  • Follow the VCU Clinical Trials Facebook page to read about studies recruiting at VCU.
  • Post your support of clinical trials participation and the people who make trials possible with #clinicaltrialsday, and tag Massey, VCU and/or VCU Health.
  • Massey and VCU Health patients can now join a national study seeking to enroll 1 million or more people across the U.S. Learn more about the All of Us Research Program.
Adapted from an article written by Jackie Kruszewski from the Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research

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Get access to new, innovative care

Treatments in clinical trials may be more effective or have fewer side effects than the treatments that are currently available. With more than 200 studies for multiple types of cancers and cancer prevention, Massey supports a wide array of clinical trials.

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