In the era of launching Kickstarter campaigns to pay for just about anything, Carnegie Mellon and McGill University ethicists warn that the trend of patients funding their own clinical trials may do more harm than good.

The researchers co-wrote a column in Cell Stem Cell outlining how patient-funded trials may seem like a beneficial new way to involve more patients in research and establish new funding opportunities, but instead they threaten scientific rigor, relevance, efficiency, and fairness.

"Patient-funded trials look like they could be a boon to science by attracting previously untapped resources to research," said lead author CMU's Danielle Wenner. "The problem with this model is that it lacks mechanisms to ensure that research is grounded in good science. Rather than increasing the pace of biomedical progress, it may delay innovation through the diversion of resources, and ultimately harm the very people it is intended to help."

Poll Question:
Do you think patient-funded clinical trials may do more harm than good?