Diabetes kills around five million people every year and is a condition which can often be debilitating for countless more. If you have type 1, your immune system actively attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is where the human body does not produce enough, or react to, insulin. The former requires regular injections, the latter is often manageable through diet and lifestyle changes but deteriorates over time. There is no cure.
It often costs well over a billion dollars to create a new drug. Most of this investment is spent on research and development. A crucial part of this are human trials, which usually involve a rigorous and gruelling process; usually taking several years to complete. The possibility of a breakthrough is worth the sacrifice for many participants. The Human Trial, which took almost a decade in the making, goes behind the scenes.
The Human Trial is an invaluable insight into what it’s like to take part in this kind of research project. Filmmaker Lisa Hepner has type 1 diabetes and became aware of a radical stem cell treatment trial in 2011. Along with her husband Guy Mossman, she decided to enlist and document the process of trying to find a cure. The Human Trial is a difficult watch at times but does a great job of giving the viewer an idea of what it feels like to participate in a medical study.
The Human Trial is available on TVOD in the US from 11 November.