Clinical trials are the final and crucial step in delivering new drugs to patients. When you participate in research, you give something money can’t buy. Parkinson’s patients and their loved ones are eager to play an active role in finding the cure, and dozens of new clinical trials are launched each year. Yet challenges identifying participants too often mean that these studies finish late — or never really get started.
Today, 80 percent of trials fail to recruit enough volunteers within planned timelines. This slows research progress and deters funders from investing in Parkinson’s research. It is estimated that only 1 in 10 people with Parkinson’s participate in clinical trials. Yet in spite of the challenges, we know that this low participation rate belies the Parkinson’s community’s significant interest in stepping up.
There are many different types of Parkinson’s trials, including ones that test new drug compounds and devices (interventional trials), ones that aim to better understand the disease (observational trials), and tests of non-pharmacological interventions.
"Cures aren't going to fall from the sky. We have to climb up and get them."
Michael J. Fox
- There are many different types of Parkinson’s trials, including ones that test new drug compounds and devices (interventional trials), ones that aim to better understand the disease (observational trials), and tests of non-pharmacological interventions such as acupuncture, exercise and even video gaming
- Fewer than half of all trial participants ever receive a placebo
- Participating in a trial should not interfere with your usual care
- As a volunteer, you are protected by the patient’s bill of rights that allows you to end your participation in the trial at any point
Types of Clinical Trials
Treatment trials test new treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy.
- Prevention trials look for better ways to prevent disease in people who have never had the ailment or to prevent a disease from returning. These approaches may include medicines, vitamins, minerals, vaccines, or lifestyle changes.
- Diagnostic trials are conducted to find better tests or procedures for diagnosing a disease or condition.
- Screening trials test the best way to detect certain diseases or health conditions.
- Quality-of-life trials, also known as supportive care trials, explore ways to improve quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.