Fast Tracking for Better Treatments
Fast tracking better treatments and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s is the goal of The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Fox Trial Finder tool, which connects scientists studying the disease with people willing to take part in that research.
“There’s nothing that can move things forward faster than people coming through the door to participate in clinical trials,” says Claire Meunier, vice president of research engagement at The Michael J. Fox Foundation, “but finding volunteers is a challenge. About 80% of trials are delayed and 30% never get off the ground due to lack of volunteers.”
Prospective volunteers can register with Fox Trial Finder at foxtrialfinder.org. They enter information such as age, ZIP code, symptoms and medications, and then receive an email once a week describing nearby trials that may be a match.
Clinical trial coordinators can also search the database to find the appropriate volunteers for their studies and then message them through the tool, which strips away all personal identifiers, such as name, phone number and email address.
Trials have a great need for volunteers. After all, says Meunier, all of today’s treatments are available because people took part in past trials. “If you’re frustrated because care hasn’t improved faster, or you’re eager to find a way to engage in the Parkinson’s community, the Fox Trial Finder tool can help you connect,” she says. “By participating, you’ll make a significant contribution to the future and help get us to the finish line a cure much faster.”
Clinical Trial Participation: What You Need to Know
Why Volunteer: Scientists conducting trials of potential PD treatments need volunteers of all ages with Parkinson’s. They also need family members of people with the condition as well as people without any genetic connection to the disease at all.
Get Involved: Not every trial is right for every person. A coordinator will walk you through the informed consent process, explaining everything you’ll be asked to do, as well as all the possible benefits and risks.
How It Works: There are trials that test new medications as well as studies that don’t involve drugs at all. Some researchers are studying the effects of exercise, while others follow people over time to record their health changes.
Visit foxtrialfinder.org and register to find a clinical trial that might be a match for you.
Originally published in MoreThanMotion, Spring 2015.