Yep, May 4th – 8th is Clinical Trial Awareness Week, and you know how I feel about clinical trials! I have to admit, two years ago I would have said “it’s what week” but then I received the ‘Diagnosis’ and now I am an advocate for clinical trial participation and for the need to bring the patient to the table with the researcher so all of our needs are met. Amazing how life changes isn’t it?
Regular readers are aware that almost every post, no matter the topic, includes a push for you to sign up for the Fox Trial Finder. But then what? You say “OK Tom” and you sign up and you get your first list of trials that match your information and you are excited to find the perfect match that will lead to the cure! But…if you are like me, you discover that you don’t qualify for your first choice because you are already taking Sinemet or Mirapex or some other PD drug. Oh and that is the same problem with your second choice too!
Oh look, a soap box….
I have written about this problem before and it was discussed it at the Rally for the Challenge last year in Grand Rapids and we have discussed it with other PwP’s but we haven’t found an answer to this problem. I may be wrong, but I believe that this issue is a major reason PD researchers can’t recruit enough trial participants. Most of the people I have talked to were diagnosed by completing the toe-heel tapping, finger tapping, nose touching etc. tests AND then, to make sure, prescribed a dopamine replacement drug. Presto, no longer eligible for many trials, at least while in the early progression of PD.
I realize that part of the reason for not taking volunteers who are already medicated is the need to make sure it is the tested drug that produces the expected improvement, not the combination of two or more drugs. But, what if the combination produces a better result? Already many of us take two or more drugs to treat all of our symptoms and improve our quality of life. So here’s my idea..
Why not include some already medicated volunteers in the study design? For example, if you need 400 subjects for Phase III, how about 300 who aren’t taking a dopamine replacement drug (if you can find them) and 50 taking Sinement and 50 taking Mirapex? It might require some tweaking of the dosage of the drugs but you have another 100 participants in your trial. Just a thought, we need clinical trials and they need volunteers, so it’s time to stop saying ‘That’s the way we have always done it” and time to be innovative and try something new.
…..OK, off the soapbox.