Understanding PD
Image Image
Living Well With PD
Image Image
Clinical Trials
Image Image
Stacks Image 214
Clinical trials – it’s a term we all have heard. We know that they’re necessary and we know that people need to participate in them. Then why is there such a shortage of trial participants? Close to 85% of all clinical trials are delayed due to recruitment difficulties and a staggering 30% fail to recruit a single subject. Is this gap due to apathy? Lack of accessibility? Lack of knowledge?

Apathy is not likely a major reason as surveys have shown that, in the case of Parkinson’s, the vast majority of affected individuals express some interest in being involved in clinical trials. Difficulty accessing appropriate studies in your own geographical area is in fact, a big problem. Although we rely on our physicians to keep us functional and manage our medical needs, there is often a lack of dissemination of information regarding ongoing trials unless of course the physician is intimately involved with a particular one. And that is not to put blame on the physician. There are so many other pressing issues that must be addressed during the patient encounter, that medical research and recruitment fall to a lower priority. Although I continue to believe that there will ultimately be a cure, I fear that this goal cannot be reached in an expeditious manner unless we all do whatever is possible to increase trial recruitment for those studies that are being conducted to achieve this objective.

That’s where
innovative tools such as Fox Trial Finder excel. Once registered, patients and controls (those without the disease) receive information on trials that they may possibly qualify for in their own geographical area. In return, researchers can contact individuals through the database that fit their eligibility criteria. This type of tool bridges the gap between scientists and patients, increasing the success of trial recruitment and ultimately accelerating the development of new treatments.

Speaking of which, for a new treatment to get from the lab to the pharmacy shelf it can take about 15 - 30 years and 1 billion dollars! Approximately half of that time is spent in clinical trials. So as you can see, any delay a study faces due to difficulty in finding participants, leads to a huge waste of resources, money and most importantly time - time that those of us that have to wake up each day facing the burden of Parkinson’s would rather spend fully functional and productive. Fully able to contribute to our families and community in a way that one can only do when not in the depths of this disease.

And that day will come. There is hope. Better treatments and even that elusive cure are in our future. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when”. And we will reach that goal because of people who are given the opportunity to be a part of a clinical study and follow through. I know that
participation in a research trial requires selfless commitment. Those that participate give of their time, energy and literally in some instances, themselves! You too have the ability to play a huge role in moving us closer to that day and can be part of something that has the potential to make a life-changing difference for all PD patients and their loved ones. So please sign up for Fox Trial Finder ( https://foxtrialfinder.michaeljfox.org ) , advocate for others with and without Parkinson’s to join and consider participating in a clinical trial that you are qualified for and feel you are able to support. Regardless of your level of involvement, please accept my admiration and heartfelt gratitude. Through our collective dedication to resolve this issue, the day will come when we will no longer have to face this challenge and when those that follow will not have to embark on this journey in the first place.
Suggested Reading
Types of Clinical Trials
Stacks Image 221
Clinical trials or clinical studies simply refer to those research studies that involve human volunteers and are conducted to add to, Read more...
Pros & Cons
Stacks Image 230
Clinical trial participation is absolutely necessary in order for the research community to develop better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease Read more...