The Second Pilgrims

Nov 22, 2023

The Pilgrims came to America in 1620 in search of religious freedom.

The Second Pilgrims were those that migrated to clinical trials—the first ever controlled clinical trial was led by Dr. James Lind in 1747 aboard the English ship, HMS Salisbury—in search of freedom from disease.

After a period of bitter hardship, the first Pilgrims managed to make Plymouth Colony a success and celebrated the first Thanksgiving with their Native American neighbors in 1621.

Against the bitter backdrop of thalidomide-induced birth defects, the passage of the Kefauver-Harris Amendments of 1962 ushered in a new era of clinical trial stringency. Another important clinical trial milestone was the formation of the International Committee of Harmonisation for Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP) that protects the rights, safety, and welfare of human clinical trial participants.

Although still a work in progress, clinical trials have come a long way since their inception in the 1700’s to become the gold standard of clinical research and development.

This Thanksgiving, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all clinical trial patients, past, present and future, for having made the journey into the unknown and to all the researchers and clinicians that we work closely with like Dr. Conley (MD Anderson Cancer Center), Dr. Gordon (QUT), Erin Greaves (U Warwick), Dr. Pedro Cabrales (UCSD), Andrew Horne (U Edinburgh), Dr. Paolo Bossi (MASCC) and others, for having stood—and for continuing to stand—so resolutely by their sides.

May these Second Pilgrims also find their Promised Land.