How does one find out about medical trials?

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Jacquie Heyman

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How does one find out about medical trials?
« on: 26/11/2011 09:01:07 »
Jacquie Heyman asked the Naked Scientists:
My aunt has severe Parkinson's and is many years into this horrible disease.

Countless meds have been tried, along with P.T., Speech Therapy, etc. She continues to deteriorate, despite various efforts to at least maintain a state she's currently in.

A once very active, totally fun-loving, vibrant woman, who loved to love, laugh, talk, garden, fish, travel, and, to put it in it's most basic terms, live life to the fullest, is having that very life sucked out of her.

I saw a show yesterday that discussed the use of pig cells, transplanted into the brains of Parkinson's patients, to treat their symptoms, and perhaps restore lost functions. How does someone go about getting information about this to see if she qualifies for such a procedure, the risks involved, where it's done, and get a  time-frame for how fast she could get it done, should she qualify?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as we are running out of places to turn!!!!!

Thank-you in advance for your assistance!


Jacquie Heyman

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« Last Edit: 26/11/2011 09:01:07 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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How does one find out about medical trials?
« Reply #1 on: 26/11/2011 11:24:54 »

I'm sorry to hear about your aunt.

You can often search the web and locate some ongoing clinical trials. 

Keep in mind that controlled experimental trials often have a "Control Group or a Placebo Group", and an "Experimental Group".  Sometimes the control group will be given the "standard care" which is compared to the group receiving the experimental care. 

Nonetheless, not everyone will get the new treatment.

Here is a website that has some current Parkinson's Disease related trials.  I don't know if it is an all inclusive list, but would be a good starting place.

Certainly the country you live, and whether you are willing to travel will affect what trials are available.  Often there is a cost associated with the trials.

Also, contact your local medical school to see if they can direct you towards any clinical trials being conducted.  If you know of a particular company or researcher that is conducting a specific trial, you can always try to contact them directly.

The PBS page has a couple of notes about the Swine Parkinson's Disease Trials.  At least one line of study.
Scientists at Diacrin, Inc. receive FDA permission to begin clinical trials using fetal pig neurons to treat patients suffering from Parkinson's disease. These Phase 1 trials when concluded show efficacy and no safety problems, leading to Phase 2 trials in the late 1990s.
March 2001
Preliminary analysis of Phase 2 controlled trials treating Parkinson's disease patients with injected pig neuro cells indicate a setback. Although there were improvements, the study found no difference in the improvements between the patients who had been treated with the pig cells and those who had a placebo treatment.

Based on the brief summary, I'm doubtful that additional subjects will be added to the swine trial.  Unless there is a different trial that is being conducted. 

Have you done any research on Deep Brain Stimulation?