Clinical Trials Day is May 20, 2018. To celebrate, we’re highlighting volunteer Shanelle Gabriel’s story.
Guest post by Lisa Conroy
The first time Shanelle Gabriel realized her lupus could kill her, she was halfway across the country, far away from her home in New York City. An emergency room visit revealed a pulmonary embolism — two blood clots in her lungs. Lupus patients can have a higher prevalence of this life-threatening condition. It was scary. It was eye-opening. And it made Shanelle want to fight for her life — and the lives of others.
As part of her fight, Shanelle volunteers for several lupus research initiatives. For example, she has participated in both clinical trials and observational case studies to help find potential new treatments for the disease. “I can’t expect people to be able to find a cure if there aren’t people who will take part in trials,” she says. In fact, one of the treatments she volunteered to test was approved for use in lupus patients. Today, Shanelle uses that very drug to help control her symptoms.
Volunteering for research studies has been a wholly positive experience for Shanelle. “I felt better and my labs showed I was actually doing better,” she says. And then there’s also the feeling that comes from doing good for others. “I was excited about the idea that something could help me and patients like me.”
When she’s not volunteering for research studies, Shanelle is advocating for lupus patients and has become an important voice in making sure that all people are represented in clinical trials for new treatments in development. “In clinical trials, people of color are definitely under-represented,” she says, noting that one of the few drugs approved to treat lupus doesn’t work as effectively in African Americans, who are disproportionately impacted by the condition. “It’s very important for us to be on clinical trials so that we can make sure that we are getting the drugs that work for all of us.”
On Clinical Trials Day, we’re offering a special thanks to all volunteers who are shaping medical history by taking part in medical research. Your contribution drives medical progress and provides hope for a healthier future.
To learn more about clinical trials and how you can volunteer to take part, visit www.antidote.me.
About the author: Lisa is director of communications at Antidote, a digital health company that aims to accelerate the breakthroughs of new treatments by bridging the gap between medical research and the people who need them.