Great Strides 2008
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Clinical Trial Participants Speak Out


Gunnar Esiason, New York, New York
High school senior, pictured with dad, Boomer Esiason

Gunnar Esiason, New York, New York

Last year, I heard about a new antibiotic called inhaled aztreonam that the CF Foundation was testing, and I wanted to try it for myself and give feedback.  I started participating in a clinical trial of the drug last September, and I’ve been taking it ever since.  That’s how I got involved in clinical trials.  Personally, I love aztreonam and have seen my lung function improve, but I would have had to wait until it came onto the market if I had not participated in the trial.

I wasn’t worried about my safety in the trial, but I felt nervous because I didn’t know what to expect.  I was confident the new drug was going to help, but I wasn’t sure what it was going to taste like, how it would feel, if it would maybe burn a little, or even if it would make me cough. But I figured it was okay to be nervous about trying a new drug. It’s just like doing anything else that’s new—it is always going to seem a little weird the first time you try it.  I decided that I would never know until I gave it a shot. 

Now that I’ve had a positive experience participating in a clinical trial, I feel a responsibility to tell other CF patients about my experience. I always find myself talking to my friends with CF about the aztreonam trial and how it has helped me.  I think that it’s extremely important that these clinical trials have good participation rates because without patient feedback, new drugs can’t be adjusted or refined. I think that patients need to be confident, ask questions about different trials and decide to participate.   Would I participate in another trial?  Sure, I would. The next therapy could be even better! Someone has to help test the new treatments, so why not me?

Check Out Boomer Esiason On Our YouTube Channel!

Visit the CF Foundation’s channel on YouTube (www.youtube.com/CysticFibrosisUSA) and see Boomer Esiason’s message on clinical trials. You can also check out other videos of inspiring people with CF.

Mat Vitousek, Palo Alto, Calif.
Junior, Willamette College, Salem, Oreg.

Michael Matson (Mat) Vitousek, Palo Alto, Calif.

I was diagnosed with CF at four months of age and have participated in CF clinical research since I was just a few years old. So far, I have taken part in about five trials for various CF treatments.  For me, participating in clinical trials gives me an opportunity to benefit from potential new drugs. It also gives me a chance to aid in the drug development process for treatments that may significantly help me and thousands of other people with CF.  As a participant in the TOBI® trials, I was not only able to use the drug in its early phases of development, but also participated in making TOBI® what it is today—a CF treatment mainstay which continues to benefit not just me, but thousands of others with this disease. 

Most recently, I was involved in the VX-770 trial.  This drug has the potential to be an even more important tool in fighting CF and by participating in the trial, I am helping to make it available as soon as possible.  For me, the importance of clinical trials cannot be understated.  There are many possible new therapies for CF, some of which could radically change how the disease is treated. However, none of these treatments would become available were it not for clinical trials.

Participating in clinical trials gives you a chance to try new treatments immediately and help those treatments become available to everyone.   The more people who participate in trials, the sooner everyone will be able to benefit from these new treatments.  For these reasons, I will absolutely continue to participate in clinical trials. As trials like TOBI® and VX-770 have shown me, the treatment of CF is constantly improving and it really is great to be a part of that advancement.