The Evolution of Clinical Trials: From the First Recorded Trial to Modern-day Standards

Author(s): Deanna Saylor

Clinical trials have come a long way since their inception in the 1700s. Initially, clinical trials were used as a way to test the efficacy of new treatments on small groups of patients. Over time, clinical trials have evolved to become the gold standard for evaluating the safety and efficacy of new medical treatments. In this article, we will take a look at the history of clinical trials, from the first recorded trial to modern-day standards. The first recorded clinical trial took place in the mid-1700s. Scottish surgeon James Lind conducted a study on sailors who were suffering from scurvy. At the time, scurvy was a common affliction among sailors on long voyages, and many sailors died from the disease. Lind suspected that scurvy was caused by a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the sailors’ diets. To test his theory, he conducted a clinical trial on 12 sailors who were suffering from scurvy. Lind divided the sailors into six groups of two and assigned each group a different treatment. The treatments included citrus fruits, vinegar, seawater, and a mixture of garlic, mustard seed, and horseradish.