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Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis Resource Center

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Are there clinical trials I can qualify for?

(Note: Find out more about clinical trials and read the ICCP Guide for Experimental Treatments for Spinal Cord Injury.)

Clinical trials are conducted on a wide variety of disease and conditions including topics related to spinal cord injury. There are three distinct phases in clinical trials that may lead to the FDA approval of a drug or therapy:

Phase I clinical trials are directly built upon basic and animal research and their primary goal is to test the safety of a therapy and to estimate possible usefulness in a small group (usually under 100) of human subjects.

Phase II clinical trials usually involve many subjects (usually a few hundred people) at several different research centers and are used to test safety and efficacy of a medication or surgical procedure on a broader scale, to test different dosing for medications or to perfect techniques for surgery, and to determine the best methodology for the larger Phase III clinical trial to come.

Phase III clinical trials often involve many centers and may include a few thousand subjects. These trials usually have several groups of subjects who receive different interventions (different doses of drugs or types of treatments) which are then compared for effectiveness against each other or against no intervention (placebo).

Human participation occurs in all three phases. If you are considering joining a clinical trial, the research staff will give you informed consent documents that include the details about the study. All clinical trials have guidelines about who can get into the program. Guidelines are based on such factors as age, type of disease, medical history, and current medical condition. Before you join a clinical trial, you must qualify for the study. Physicians involved in the care of your family member may be consulted as well.

The websites listed below can be used to find clinical trials:

Clinical trials vs. human experiments?
The difference between clinical trials and human experiments is that human experiments have in most cases not been medically proven and/or peer reviewed. This makes it difficult to determine the benefits or the patient outcomes. Clinical trials have a specific protocol to be followed and are looking for specific results.

Human experiments can pose a danger because they are not reviewed and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) for safety, ethics, and usefulness. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires an IRB for all clinical trials.

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Clinical Trials (PDF)

Clinical TrialsAn internet resource with current listings of all federally supported clinical trials in the U.S., sorted by disease or condition, location, treatment or sponsor. Developed by the National Library of Medicine.

ClinicalTrials.comComing Soon! An educational Web site for patients, doctors and others interested in learning more about the development of new medicines and the process for participating in clinical trials.

Center WatchClinical trials listing of industry professionals, patients and info.

The Inventory and Evaluation of Clinical Research Networks (IECRN)is funded by the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research and provides profiles of clinical research networks. The network profiles are summaries of descriptive information about the networks, such as types of studies, funding source, participating entities and special populations.

SearchClinicalTrials.orgCreated especially for patients, family members, health care professionals and members of the public, SearchClinicalTrials.org allows you to search multiple websites for clinical research in human volunteers, clinical study results and medical news. You may search for clinical trials by selecting a medical condition and geographic location.

Search the Studies: National Institutes of Health (NIH)Use this web site to search the collection of research studies being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center.

SCI-Info Pages: Spinal Cord Injury Clinical TrialsThis site is a free and informative resource for those living with a spinal cord injury or other disabling injuries or diseases of the spine. It is meant to be a "best of the web" site for SCI health and caregiver information. Visit regularly for updated resources, new features, links and more.

Quality of Life Grants DatabaseFind resources within the PRC Quality of Life Grants Database. Search by Zip Code, State or an Entire Category.

Library Books and VideosFind resources within the PRC library catalog.

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The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. Time. International callers use 973-467-8270. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

The information provided in the Paralysis Resource Center was supported by Cooperative Agreement number 1U59DD000838-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the Reeve Foundation and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.