Clinical trials depend on volunteer participation to help answer questions about the cause(s) of diseases, the source for a cure and to find new treatments. Participants of all types are needed in clinical trials. People in all stages of the disease, as well as healthy people who've not been diagnosed can all make important contributions. Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision. Participants need to educate themselves and ask many questions before enrolling in a trial. Additionally, it is often helpful to talk to a physician, family members and friends about deciding whether or not to participate a research trial.
Although there are many definitions of clinical trials, they are generally considered to be bio-medical or health-related research studies in human beings that follow a pre-defined protocol. Clinical research includes both interventional and observational types of studies. Interventional studies are those in which the research subjects are assigned by the investigator to a treatment or other intervention (for example a medication or exercise), and their outcomes are measured. Observational studies are those in which individuals are observed and their outcomes are measured by the investigators.
Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research. Here are some resources to help with the decision-making process.
Research into different aspects of Parkinson's disease (and caring for people with Parkinson's disease) takes place on both a regional and national level. To find out more about research taking place and recruiting participants, click on the links below.
National Parkinson's Disease Research
The National Institutes of Health's ClinicalTrials.gov website includes an "Introduction to Clinical Trials" with helpful questions and answers about clinical trial participation. Selected Q & As from this website are shown below.
To find clinical trials for Parkinson's disease that are currently enrolling subjects, visit PDtrials.org - specifically for Parkinson's disease trials or ClinicalTrials.gov - a clinical trial registry for all conditions and diseases.
The Fox Trial Finder is a user friendly tool that connects volunteers with Parkinson's disease clinical trials. For more information on The Fox Trial Finder, visit foxtrialfinder.michaeljfox.org
Regional Parkinson's Disease Research
The Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh is recruiting participants between the ages of 45-100 years old, who have Parkinson's disease, are able to come to the University of Pittsburgh, and taking Levodopa/Carbidopa only medication (Ex. Sinemet, Sinemet CR, Larodopa, Levodopa/Carbidopa, Parcopa, Atamet, Dopar, etc.)or Dopamine Agonist only(Ex. Bromocriptine, Palodel, Neupro, Pramipexole, Mirapex, Mirapex ER, Ropinerole, Requip, Requip XL, etc.).
Participants will be asked to perform a series of tasks on a computer and with paper and pencil. The studies will use a non-invasive brain scan called fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and behavioral testing. fMRI is a technique used to detect changes in brain function during mental activity. This study will examine how different task conditions produce different patterns of brain activation.
For additional infromation and eligibility criteria, please contact:
Parkinson’s disease psychosis (PDP), one of the most difficult non-motor symptoms manifests primarily as hallucinations (seeing, feeling or hearing things that are not really there) and delusions (believing in something that is not true). There are no antipsychotic drugs approved in the United States to treat PDP.
Prior pimavanserin research data indicate a reduction in psychotic symptoms without worsening of motor function, supporting this current study to further evaluate daily oral treatment with this investigational drug. This research study is currently recruiting people with Parkinson's disease who have had visual and/or auditory hallucinations and/or delusions during the last month. For additional information on the investigational drug, the study or eligability criteria, please contact Norma Skillings, RN, CRC at 724-836-1921. This is part of a multicenter, Phase 3 Study conducted locally by Michael K. Stauter, MD at Westmoreland Neurology Associates 327 West PittsburghSt., Greensburg, PA 16601
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease within the past 3 years, you may be able to participate in a research study to see if increasing your own levels of the antioxidant urate can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Compensation provided. Study conducted at UPMC Neurology at the Kaufmann Building in Oakland.
COULD THIS STUDY BE RIGHT FOR YOU? • Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease within the past 3 years and were 30 or older at the time of diagnosis • Not taking any medication to treat Parkinson’s disease (except for MAO-B inhibitors such as Azilect® or selegiline) • No history of gout, recurrent kidney stones, heart attack or stroke
For additional information abotu this study, contact:
This study will examine the impact of supplementation of 1000 IU vitamin D3 on bone and mineral metabolism parameters in early stage idiopathic PD patients (Hoehn and Yahr stages I-III) in a placebo controlled double blind randomized controlled trial. For more information, please contact the Study Coordinator.
Use of the InMotion2 Robotic Device to Distinguish Normal from Pathologic Upper Extremity Movement Between Persons with Parkinson's disease (PD) and a Healthy, Gender/Age-matched Comparison Group.
The primary objective of this research study is to determine if a robotic device, the InMotion2, can discriminate between pathologic movement in persons with Parkinson's disease and normal upper extremity movement in a healthy, gender/age-matched comparison group. The specific aim of this study is to conduct preliminary groundwork to develop a novel, objective measurement tool which can ultimately be used to evaluate the effectiveness of standardized treatment on upper extremity motor function in persons with Parkinson's disease. For more information, please contact the Study Coordinator.
John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Center
Do you experience dizziness or light-headedness or feel like you are going to faint when you stand up? Have you been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease? You may be able to participate in a research study to see if a drug called droxidopa can help. Compensation provided. Study conducted at UPMC Neurology at the Kaufmann Building in Oakland.
COULD THIS STUDY BE RIGHT FOR YOU? • Ages 18 and up • Diagnosed with symptomatic Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH) associated with Parkinson’s disease
For additional information on this study, contact:
Do you have a movement disorder? If so, you may be able to participate in the PIND Movement Disorders Research Registry at UPMC Neurology. This registry is a list of individuals who are interested in being contacted about future research studies. Registry enrollment can be done over the phone/mail and requires no visits.
COULD THIS STUDY BE RIGHT FOR YOU? •Ages 18 and up •Have a mobility disorder
Contact Deena Ratner at
Researchers are looking for individuals with Parkinson's disease to participate in an assessment of their hand function using tabletop robots. The assessment takes about three hours.
(Participants are compensated).
For additional information about this study, contact:
Energy Cost of Walking and Parkinson's Disease
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh are excited to announce the beginning of a new study of Parkinson’s disease that will investigate the energy cost of walking involved during different bouts of walking in older adults with PD.
Individuals must have a medical diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, be 65 years of age or older, and able to walk without the help of another person or an assistive device (indoors).
This one-visit study will be conducted at the Kaufmann Medical building at the University of Pittsburgh (Oakland campus) and will consist of three 4-6 minute bouts of walking and answering variety of questionnaires. The single testing session is estimated to last approximately 2.5 hours. Free parking is provided and you will be reimbursed a small fee for your participation.
If you are interested or have questions please call: David Wert at 412-383-5397. If we are unable to answer your call, please leave us a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.