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Historical Vignettes of Clinical Trials

Newgate Prison (courtesy of www.umich.edu)
Courtesy of umich.edu
A study conducted in 1721 involved six in-mates from Lon-don's Newgate Pri- son.  The inmates were inoculated by implanting small-pox matter from infected patients on both arms and legs of inmates.   This proved to support the theory of inoculation.
Edward Jenner (courtesy of www.jennermuseum.com)
Courtesy of jennermuseum.org
In 1798, Edward Jenner conducted a series of experi-ments involving in-oculation of people with cowpox as a protection against smallpox.  It was these early experi- ments that led to the discovery of a vaccination for smallpox.
Lady Mary Wortly Montagu
Courtesy of Wikipedia
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was a pioneer in inoculation against small-pox.   During a trip to Turkey, Lady Montagu witnessed a method of poking smallpox sores into open scratches of healthy children.  She campaigned to have this procedure instituted in England.  Thus the 1721 Newgate prison study.
University Group Diabetes Program (UGDP)
The University Group Diab-etes Program (UGDP) was one of the first multicenter trials to focus on the treatment of a chronic non-infectious disease.  The UGDP began in 1960 and was completed in 1974.
James Lind (courtesy of Edinburgh at the University Press)
Edinburgh University Press
In 1747, while at sea, James Lind cond- ucted one of the first experiments using a control group.  The experiment involved seamen aboard the SS Salisbury (pict-ured left) affected by scurvy.  It was this experiment that first introduced the idea of using a simultaneously treated control group.
Donald Fredrickson, Director of NIH
Donald Fredrickson (1924-2002) was director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  A moving force in the development of clinical trials as the "indispensable ordeal.
Last Updated: 02 Mar 2015