How to Become a Clinical Researcher

Medical research is continuously underway and the results enable researchers to further understand the complexities of pathogens and develop effective new vaccinations. While many individuals can participate in clinical trials as volunteers, the qualifications needed to work as a clinical researcher are, understandably, much more extensive.

What is a clinical researcher?

Clinical researchers are responsible for conducting clinical trials, recruiting and screening patients, maintaining patient care and submitting findings upon completion of the trial. Throughout the trial, they must ensure ethical and proper clinical practice, following and enforcing strict rules and regulations.

According to Learn.org, “you will spend long periods of time in laboratories conducting experimentation and cataloging, analyzing and publishing your results. In contrast to physicians, clinical researchers generally work regular hours. Your research will likely address human health issues, and may culminate in significant medical innovation.”

There are several different types of clinical research:

  • Treatment research
  • Prevention research
  • Diagnostic research
  • Screening research
  • Quality of life research
  • Genetic studies
  • Epidemiological studies (seeking patterns and causes of diseases and disorders)

Within these branches, there are a variety of positions. Those in the clinical research field can work in universities, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies or government positions. They can work with data in an office environment, administer trial drugs and therapies alongside patients or instruct physicians, residents and technicians about proper clinical procedures.

Two roles that are essential (and can work as stepping stones to further a career in clinical research) are the Clinical Trial Assistant (CTA) and Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) positions. The CTA typically works in an office-based environment, where they track and file trial protocols and case reports, coordinate meetings and help with managing timelines and budgets; the CRC typically recruits patients, works at the research site, prepares the case report forms and manages data.

Education

A career in clinical research typically begins during undergraduate studies, with a four-year bachelor’s degree in a field related to biology, mathematics or physics. A strong academic record is important, as medical and doctoral programs are quite competitive. Depending on which path you decide to take after exposure to the field in your undergraduate studies, you may then go on to pursue a master’s degree, or even an M.D. or a Ph.D. Relevant degree fields include biological sciences or medicine—biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, microbiology, neuroscience, M.D. or nursing. Some universities also offer master’s degrees specifically in clinical research.

Training

If you complete all of the required education, licensure is not required. However, there is an optional certification available from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. Internships will likely be required, which can lead to an entry-level position as a clinical research associate (CTA or CRC).

According to Study.com, key skills of a clinical researcher include the ability to use analytical, scientific, database user interface and graphics software, extensive knowledge of other electronic equipment as well as centrifuges, laboratory flasks, petri plates, etc. While there is a lot of variety within the field, you must also have an eye for detail, appreciate strict guidelines, be well organized, enjoy solitary work and potentially spend a lot of time traveling, as stated by ClinicalResearchAssociated.com. 

Learn More About Clinical Research

At OCRC, we offer a variety of clinical trials and research studies that are open for participation,  in our state-of-the-art clinical research facility. If you are interested in volunteering, please tell us a little more about yourself in the Current studies section of the home page and we will contact you to determine your eligibility for current and future studies.

How to Get Involved in Clinical Research

How to Get Involved in Clinical Research

Medical research leads to medical advancements, which helps to improve the health of millions of Americans. Conditions ranging from allergies to cancer to digestive health are all being studied thanks to the help of volunteers across the country. These volunteers range from children to adults of varying health conditions and diagnoses, and play an important role in answering vital questions in the medical research process:
Does the treatment in question work? If so, how effective is it? Is it better than current treatments?
Is the treatment in question safe? What are the side effects? Do the benefits outweigh the possible risks?
How is the treatment metabolized? Is a treatment absorbed or eliminated from the body differently in people with impaired liver or kidney function compared to people without impairment?

There are four phases of clinical trials whereby researchers attempt to answer these questions:
Phase One—treatment is tested for the first time in a small group (20-80 volunteers), in order to assess safety and side effects.
Phase Two—treatment is tested with a larger group (100-300 volunteers) to evaluate effectiveness and further assess safety.
Phase Three—treatment is tested with larger groups (1,000-3,000 volunteers) to confirm effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare with standard treatments and evaluate any additional information to ensure the treatment is used safely.
Phase Four—following FDA approval, researchers continue to monitor the safety, benefits and risks of the treatment with the help of long-term research volunteers.

According to the American Cancer Society, “it takes an average of about eight years from the time a cancer drug enters clinical trials until it’s approved.” One of the most significant barriers in creating new treatments is the amount of time it takes to conduct clinical research. This is largely due to the fact that many people are unaware that participating in a study is an option for them. Of those willing to participate, however, only certain people may be eligible to volunteer for a specific trial.

Volunteer Requirements

All clinical trials have specific participation requirements that can vary from study to study, called “inclusion criteria;” factors that disqualify a volunteer from participating are called “exclusion criteria.” This can include but is not limited to age, gender, location, diagnosis, medical history, etc. Inclusion and exclusion criteria ensure volunteer safety and increase the likelihood of obtaining necessary information.  The first step to participating in a clinical trial is confirming that all inclusion criteria is met.

Participation in a clinical trial is always voluntary, and volunteers maintain the right to leave a study at any time. Before making a choice to discontinue, however, it is important to talk to your doctor about how quitting a study may affect your health and/or future treatment options.

Prior to participating in medical research, be sure to do your own research—make every effort to make an informed decision about the necessary requirements, potential placebo usage, and any possible risks and/or benefits.

Volunteer Opportunities

ClinicalTrials.gov and CenterWatch.com provide listings for clinical trials which are recruiting participants. Additionally, your own doctor and/or community hospital may be involved in clinical trials. You can always contact us to inquire about current research volunteer opportunities.

How Do The Kidneys Work?

How Do The Kidneys Work?

At just 4.5” inches, it’s hard to believe the kidneys cleanse upwards of 150 quarts of fluid from your body every day. It can be easy to overlook the importance of kidneys until their wellbeing is in jeopardy, but they are essential to healthy bodily functions. Read on to learn more about the kidney’s role in the endocrine and urinary system and the ways in which they purify your blood.

What Do the Kidneys Do?

The kidneys play a vital role in the human body. These fist-sized organs, located on either side of the abdomen, provide the human body with a unique filtration process to purify blood and remove waste. Proper kidney functionality is imperative to good health, mobility and longevity.

The Kidneys serve several purposes:

  • Regulate blood pressure by releasing a hormone called angiotensin
  • Remove toxins from the body
  • Ensure a stable blood mineral balance
  • Regulate fluids in the body and prevent excessive buildup
  • Filter blood and create red blood cells
  • Maintain vitamin B balance for healthy bones

How Do the Kidneys Work?

The kidneys receive a supply of blood from the renal artery, remove impurities from the blood, and then return the blood to the body through the renal vein. The kidneys remove toxins and unnecessary waste by means of urine, which travels from the kidneys to the bladder.

The human body absorbs whatever food nutrients it needs for energy and self-repair. According to WebMD, “After your body has taken what it needs from the food, waste is sent to the blood. If your kidneys did not remove these wastes, the wastes would build up in the blood and damage your body.”

Kidney Composition

Kidneys are comprised of different parts and tissues. One critically important part is called a nephron. There are more than one million nephrons in each kidney that all work together to remove waste and impurities from the body. Each nephron filters a small amount of blood, which is why there are so many of them within the kidneys.

According to NewHealthAdvisor.com, “There are two types of nephrons. The cortical nephrons, which make up about 85 percent, are found deep in the renal cortex, while the juxtamedullary nephrons, which make up about 15 percent of total nephrons, lie close to the medulla.”

The Impressive Power of the Kidneys

According to the National Kidney Foundation:

  • The kidneys filter about 150-200 quarts of fluid every 24 hours and return it to the bloodstream;
  • Approximately “two quarts are removed from the body in the form of urine, and about 198 quarts are recovered;”
  • Kidneys are under five inches, making them smaller than a computer mouse or a cell phone.

Learn More About Kidney Disease 

At OCRC, we are working to help create a better future for those impacted by chronic kidney disease. We are currently in need of volunteers for our Kidney disease study.

Volunteer qualifications include:

  • Ranging in age between 18-80
  • Presently have kidney impairment or disease

Currently seeing a nephrologist and taking medicine such as Procrit® or Epogen® for low blood count, Aranesp® for anemia, or PhosLo® or Renagel® for high blood phosphorus.

If you are interested in participating, please tell us a little more about yourself in the Contact section of the home page and we will respond to you to determine your eligibility for current and future studies.

A Deeper Look at The Drug Development Process

The United States is a global leader within the pharmaceutical industry and one of the largest markets in the world. With the help of clinical researchers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), medications are tested, manufactured, and disseminated to pharmacies across the country.

The primary objective of the pharmaceutical industry is to manufacture medications and devices that help prevent infections, maintain health, and treat diseases. Read on to learn more about the unique role clinical trials play in the drug development process.

Understanding Clinical Study Approval Phases and Processes

The clinical research process for all new medications is comprehensive, rigorous, and extends through multiple stages. At any given time, thousands of clinical trials are in-progress, yet “only one in every 5,000 compounds that makes it through lead development to the stage of pre-clinical development becomes an approved drug.”

The following FDA infographic summarizes the process that an investigational drug undergoes:

clinical trial process
The initial process begins with researchers isolating compounds in the lab. Then, “using the in vitro laboratory, 5,000-10,000 new and previously developed compounds are tested for biological activity,” per the FDA.

Next, Investigational New Drug Application paperwork must be filed and eventually reviewed by the FDA. Once the researcher receives an initial approval, lead compounds are tested on animals. Animal testing typically begins with fish, mice, or rabbits to determine if the medication is safe enough to be tested in humans. Certain animals, like mice, are similar enough to humans on a molecular level, for scientists to gather plausible causation.

The FDA reviews all animal testing findings and results before making their final decision. Provided the medication passes this step, FDA-monitored human trials begin to assess whether the drug is effective and safe for humans.

Phase 1: A small group (20-80) of healthy individuals or individuals with special conditions participate in this phase. Safety is a top priority for researchers overseeing this phase, which focuses on small groups of special patient populations, such as those with kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes for example.

Phase 2: A slightly larger group participates in Phase 2, which addresses the investigational device or medication’s effectiveness. Safety is continuously evaluated and side effects are also carefully monitored.

Phase 3: A large group (up to 1,000+) participates in this phase, which allows researchers to develop a further understanding of dosing and side effects of the medication when combined with other drugs.

Once trials are completed, the FDA reviews the application and determines a final ruling at a review meeting. If the drug receives the final approval, it is released to the general public. 

Learn More About Clinical Trials

ClinicalTrials.gov, the FDA website and our blog catalog all provide helpful information about clinical studies. Our staff at OCRC is also happy to offer tours at our state-of-the-art clinic to volunteers who meet study criteria.

At OCRC, we explain our methodology to every participant and we pride ourselves on the policies we put into place to keep everyone safe — both our staff, and study volunteers. The Phase I-IV clinical trials that we specialize in test investigational medications being developed by pharmaceutical and biotech companies. All participants receive treatments and medical care related to the trial at no cost. Additionally, participants may be compensated for time and travel. Health insurance is never a requirement.

If you are interested in volunteering, please tell us a little more about yourself in the Contact section of the home page and we will respond to you to determine your eligibility for current and future studies.

How Does Clinical Research Help Improve Disease Management?

How Does Clinical Research Help Improve Disease Management?

For individuals struggling with physical pain, discomfort and pain management are a regular part of daily life. Chronic illness prevents millions of Americans from living their lives the way to their fullest and participating in the activities that would otherwise offer fulfillment.

But, the good news is that scientific advancements can truly make a difference in people’s lives. The innovative world of medical devices and joint replacements have revolutionized the way that people get around and the quality of life they experience. Also, when you participate in a clinical study, your contribution may improve healthcare for future generations to come.

Clinical Research Helps Improve Disease Prognosis

With every new study, researchers are providing more comprehensive treatment options for individuals managing chronic conditions. Here are some specific illnesses that clinical researchers are working to treat:

With regard to Neuromuscular diseases, clinical trials play a key role in the discovery and development of new treatments for neuromuscular diseases, like Parkinson’s disease. The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) has been participating in one of the largest observational studies ever. Regarding their research, they note: “discoveries made in the laboratory can help people with Parkinson’s today and in the future. NPF is at the forefront of Parkinson’s research, and clinical studies are central to our vision. Every year, insights from the Project help optimize Parkinson’s care, leading to better quality of life for people with Parkinson’s today and better health for people with Parkinson’s tomorrow.” 

Additionally, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has stated: “we know how critically important clinical trials are to finding treatments and cures, which is why we’ve committed, by 2020, to doubling our research investment in clinical trials and drug development.”

Another group of people who are directly impacted are those with Mesothelioma. According to the Mesothelioma center, “Clinical trials provide patients with access to cutting-edge treatments that can make a difference in their life expectancy, and they also play an essential role in future advancements in the fight against asbestos cancer.”

According to the National Center for biotechnology Information, the discovery of Herceptin, a commonly-prescribed antibody for individuals with breast cancer, was based upon research gathered from “a cohort of more than 9,000 breast cancer patients whose tumor specimens were consecutively received at the University of San Antonio.” This targeted therapy has prevented the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in women across the country, and is also prescribed to disrupt certain types of stomach cancers.

Many other forms of cancers are being addressed by clinical researchers. For a complete list of clinical study options, visit clinicatrials.gov.

Consider Being a Part of a Clinical Trial

At OCRC, we offer a variety of clinical trials and research studies in which you can participate in our state-of-the-art clinical research facility. The Phase I-IV clinical trials that we specialize in range from a few days to a few months. All study volunteers receive all treatments and medical care related to the trial. Additionally, participants may be compensated for their time and travel. Health insurance is never a requirement for participation.

If you are interested in volunteering, please tell us a little more about yourself in the Current studies section of the home page and we will contact you to determine your eligibility for current and future studies.

Five Ways Clinical Research Helps Improve Medical Treatments

Five Ways Clinical Research Helps Improve Medical Treatments

The clinical research data gathered today will help pave the way for an improved understanding of disease and illness in the future. Both Researchers and manufacturers are continually making progress on new medications that will one day be prescribed to patients. Through scientific advances and trial and error, researchers are uncovering answers to complex health problems that millions of Americans face. Here are just a few ways that clinical research helps improve the latest medical treatments:

1. Generate scientific data

Researchers go to great lengths to understand how medications will impact segments of the greater population. Because no two people are alike – we all have unique DNA, environmental stresses and lifestyles – it is important that clinical trial data is representative and encompassing of all of these factors.

For instance, according to the National Institute of Health, women are more likely to struggle with depression, osteoarthritis and kidney disease. With these genetic predispositions in mind, the data researchers obtain about the effectiveness of associated treatments or therapies in women is particularly important.

2. Help researchers determine the effectiveness of current medical therapies and treatments

When testing a new medication or therapy, researchers look into the medication’s efficacy, potency, dosage, side effects and psychological impact on study volunteers. Healthy volunteers are imperative for researchers to fully understand the safety and effectiveness of new treatments that may one day potentially prevent, treat or cure diseases.

3. Contribute to scientific breakthroughs

Clinical trials are the testing grounds for future therapies and medications that will help improve the management of serious health conditions. The data gathered in clinical trials helps researchers better understand the effects of disease and illness on the body, and which medications offer the best treatment.

Many of today’s medical advances are the direct result of clinical trials. Researcher’s findings can help uncover cures for illnesses, enabling people to live longer and healthier lives.

4. Increase knowledge of disease progression

Many clinical studies address the ways illness progressively impacts the body. This information may help researchers identify superior intervention methods, which can contribute to an increased patient life expectancy and better quality of life.

Doctors also provide guidance and care, free-of-charge, and the patients provide doctors with important data. For individuals who meet the specific study criteria, this relationship can be particularly beneficial.

5. Help improve the lives of those with illness

Many clinical trial participants find it gratifying to help facilitate medical advancements that will improve lives, and possibly saves lives, down the road. According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Participants with an illness or disease also participate to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have the additional care and attention from the clinical trial staff.”

Life can be tough for individuals with chronic illnesses. The hope for a cure or a new therapy never fades and the more people who sign up for clinical trials, the better researcher’s odds are for finding new treatments.

Read more about cutting-edge medical innovations in our related blog, “The Latest Clinical Trial Innovations & Technologies.”

Who Funds Clinical Trials?

Who funds clinical trials?

Similar to board members overseeing top corporations, sponsors guide clinical trials toward successful outcomes. The best performing operations have committed leaders who keep the end goal in mind. Likewise, a sponsor’s oversight is critical to investigational drug development.

Sponsors play an important role in clinical trials

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), clinical trial sponsors may be “an individual who both initiates and conducts an investigation, and under whose immediate direction the investigational drug is administered or dispensed.” It is important to note that a sponsor does not actually work directly with volunteers or conduct the medical research.

Sponsor’s key responsibilities include:

  1. Ensuring all Investigational New Drug (IND) regulatory documentation is submitted in a timely matter to the FDA;
  2. Assessing the viability of a clinical study plan;
  3. Designing every study to address key research questions related to the medical treatment or product;
  4. Developing beneficial procedures to help guide a study towards a successful outcome;
  5. Staffing the study with trial with the right doctor, or principal investigator;
  6. Working with investors to ensure a study has sufficient budget, from start to finish;
  7. Keeping the board apprised of the investigational drug’s approval status;
  8. And monitoring the continued progress of a clinical trial.

Individuals or organizations can sponsor clinical studies

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, clinical trial sponsors may be:

Additionally, physicians, professors, or researchers may also choose to sponsor a clinical study. These individuals are known as sponsor-investigators, as they personally conduct research and gather data.

Sponsors oversee specific study budgets and needs

Sponsors help secure the budget necessary for a clinical trial by facilitating grants and soliciting investor contributions. The costs associated with a given trial may range depending on the following variables:

  1. Number of participants
  2. Necessary staff size for study completion
  3. Pertinent research materials necessary
  4. Patient compensation,
  5. Duration of clinical study 

Learn more about clinical studies

At OCRC, we pride ourselves on the policies we put into place to keep everyone safe — both our staff and study volunteers. OCRC recognizes the importance of timely start-up and thorough documentation processing from initial contact through completion. Our streamlined and thorough planning, coordination and monitoring process ensures both efficiency and exacting quality.

We offer a variety of clinical trials and research studies in our state-of-the-art clinical research facility. All study volunteers receive all treatments and medical care related to the trial. Additionally, participants may be compensated for time and travel. Health insurance is never a requirement.

If you’re interested in signing up, please tell us a little more about yourself in the Contact section of our home page and we will respond to you to determine your eligibility for current and future studies.

What is the Drug Development Process?

What is the Drug Development Process?

Americans spend more money on pharmaceuticals than neighboring Canada and Mexico, more than 20 European countries; and Japan, Korea and New Zealand. Billions of dollars are spent well before your medicine hits the pharmacy shelf – but where does all that money go? Read on to learn more about the drug development process and the work that goes into medicinal therapeutics.

Initial Development and Discovery

During this step, researchers focus on finding innovative new therapies through extensive testing and research. They begin with sometimes thousands of different options and whittle their way down to a few final options for further development. 

Once researchers have selected a unique compound mixture, they can begin to analyze the drug’s dosage, potency and side effects. Additionally, they look at the best methods of consuming or injecting the investigational drug, and its effectiveness compared to similar medications.

Preclinical Research

Before human testing can begin, researchers first must determine the toxicity of an investigational drug. Typically, mice or other small animals are utilized, depending on which animal has the most similar physical characteristics to humans. Once researchers have determined that an investigational drug is non-toxic for humans, they will recruit a small group of volunteers for initial testing.

Clinical Research

There are four different phases of clinical research. These phases correspond to the overall length of study, patient volume and complexity of the research plan. As an investigational drug moves through the process, the overall volunteer group size exponentially increases, which is a significant reason why certain phases may take years to complete.

The key objectives are to:

  1. Establish whether a medical product or device is safe for humans;
  2. Examine the way humans break down the experimental drug;
  3. Investigate the drug’s effectiveness and confirm which dosage is most effective;
  4. Determine which segments of the population experience the highest success rate;
  5. Identify any noted or potential side effects.

Many times, researchers will evaluate the wellbeing of a group of volunteers who receive an experimental medication against a “control group” who received a placebo (an inactive drug or substance that looks like the active drug). This is done to ensure statistically valid data and to help rule out alternative explanations for study results.

FDA Review

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been reviewing drugs for over 100 years and just 10% of all drugs that start clinical trials will result in an approved drug. Their review process for all new medications is comprehensive and rigorous.

The FDA is ultimately the gatekeeper of the approval process. They oversee the drug development process and their policies and regulations impact every pharmaceutical company, clinical research and study volunteer in the industry. Learn more about the role of the FDA here.

Postmarket Studies

Post-marketing surveillance occurs after an experimental drug has been approved. These studies provide manufacturer’s with an opportunity to more closely examine the medication’s long-term side effects. Additionally, manufacturer’s may gain further insight into the long-term benefits of the treatment in a much larger patient population size, and the medication’s comparison against other treatments currently on the market.

Learn More About Clinical Trials

ClinicalTrials.gov, the FDA website and our blog catalog are all provide helpful information about clinical studies. Our staff at OCRC is also happy to offer tours at our state-of-the-art clinic to volunteers who meet study criteria.

At OCRC, we explain our methodology to every participant and we pride ourselves on the policies we put into place to keep everyone safe — both our staff, and study volunteers. The Phase I-IV clinical trials that we specialize in test investigational medications being developed by pharmaceutical and biotech companies. All participants receive free treatments and medical care related to the trial. Additionally, participants may be compensated for time and travel. Health insurance is never a requirement.

If you are interested in volunteering, please tell us a little more about yourself in the Contact section of the home page and we will respond to you to determine your eligibility for current and future studies.

Research Toolbox: Nephrology

Research Toolbox: Nephrology

Not to be confused with nephology, the meteorological study of clouds, nephrology is a branch of medicine focused on kidney health and damage prevention. Because kidney disease is considered by many to be “a silent killer,” nephrologists typically work with patients to keep kidney functionality within a healthy range for their age. When the kidneys can no longer sufficiently cleanse the blood, nephrologists employ an artificial method of removing impurities and waste, known as dialysis.

What do nephrologists do?

Simply put, nephrologists are kidney doctors. The kidneys play such an important role in cleansing the blood that this special group of doctors undergoes additional training to comprehensively understand the outlook for individuals with kidney damage.

In practice, nephrologists rely heavily on urinalysis, or urine analysis, to detect signs of disease and declining health. Per Wikipedia, they also look for “blood in the urine (haematuria), protein in the urine (proteinuria), pus cells in the urine (pyuria) or cancer cells in the urine.” 

How do nephrologists aid in the prevention of kidney damage?

According to Wikipedia, “Nephrologists may provide care to people without kidney problems and may work in general/internal medicine, transplant medicine, immunosuppression management, intensive care medicine, clinical pharmacology, perioperative medicine, or pediatric nephrology.”

Because poor kidney functionality can cause a wide range of chronic illnesses, Nephrology specialists, or nephrologists, recommend a number of proactive measures to prevent kidney damage. Learn more about these preventative measures on our “What causes kidney disease?” blog post.

What is end-stage renal disease?

End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is the final stage of chronic kidney disease. It usually occurs after years of health problems like high blood pressure or diabetes. When the kidneys are no longer able to function and meet the body’s needs, end-stage renal disease sets in. ESRD may involve a kidney transplant for individuals who are deemed healthy enough for a transplant.

Where to find out more about kidney disease

  1. The National Kidney Foundation

“The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and their families, and tens of millions of Americans at risk.” Their website is an excellent kidney disease knowledge resource for those who are unfamiliar with the disease or are looking for proactive, preventative health measures.

  1. The American Kidney Fund

A truly philanthropic organization, the American Kidney Fund has assisted 1 out of every 5 kidney dialysis patients with health insurance premiums, transportation costs, & prescription medications since 1971.

  1. American Association of Kidney Patients

The American Association of Kidney Patients is dedicated to improving the quality of life for kidney patients through education, advocacy and the fostering of patient communities.” Active on social media and in Washington, D.C., this organization is particularly known for their advocacy and outreach efforts. Stay connected online and help make a difference in the kidney community.

Kidney disease clinical trial opportunities 

At OCRC, we work closely with the FDA and pharmaceutical companies to determine how chronic kidney disease affects they way medicines move through the body and are removed from the body. We are currently looking for participants for our Kidney disease study.

Volunteer qualifications include:

  • Ranging in age between 18-80
  • Presently have kidney impairment or disease

Key Risk Factors for Liver Cancer

Key Risk Factors for Liver Cancer

Over time, behaviors like smoking, heavy drinking and poor health take their toll on the internal organs. The liver is a highly resilient organ, but recurring abuse does take a toll. Below, we examine the progression and risk factors associated with liver cancer.

Cancer often develops prior to liver infection

One important thing to remember is that cancers that appear in the liver often originate in other parts of the body. Many times, the liver becomes infected long after other body tissue. According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, “Most cancers of the liver begin elsewhere in the body and are spread to the liver. These cancers are not curable through liver transplantation. Tumors that originate in the liver are usually detected in an advanced stage.”  

Risk factors associated with liver cancer

Certain risk factors are inherent, like your age, gender or your family’s background. Other risk factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, stress and/or exercise levels can be modified to reduce the risk of liver cancer. It should also be noted that just because an individual possesses these trails or factors, that does not mean they will experience the condition.

Here are a few known risk factors for liver cancer:

  • Cirrhosis: Repeated liver abuse, known as cirrhosis, is the second most common cause of liver cancer. Long-term cirrhosis may accompany other serious health problems like malignant tumors, fluid buildup, jaundice and high blood pressure.
  • Gender: Males are known to be more susceptible to the condition than women.
  • Hepatitis B or C: Viral infection of the liver is the most commonly occurring risk factor for liver cancer. These infections are frequently correlated and are responsible for a significant amount of worldwide liver cancer cases. People with hepatitis C are almost twice as likely to experience liver cancer than other types of hepatitis. There are multiple types of hepatitis, but both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) can cause cirrhosis.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Fatty liver disease affects about 25% of the U.S. population, according to the National Liver Foundation. Approximately one-fifth of individuals with fatty liver disease go on to experience liver cancer. According to Medscape, “from 2004 to 2009, the annual increase in hepatocellular carcinoma in fatty liver disease patients was approximately 5%.”
  • Race: Within the U.S., American Cancer Society’s data shows that “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have the highest rates of liver cancer, followed by American Indians/Alaska Natives and Hispanics/Latinos, African Americans, and whites.”

If you exhibit multiple liver cancer risk factors, be sure to speak with you doctor about liver disease. You may also consult with the doctor at OCRC if you meet our liver study criteria. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, please tell us a little more about yourself in the Contact section of the home page and we will respond to you to determine your eligibility for current and future studies.