On a brisk and beautiful fall day in New York City, more than 300 Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients and their loved ones gathered in a hotel ballroom, eschewing a leisurely morning to attend a Clinical Trials Fair.
The event on October 19—put on by Fox Trial Finder and The Michael J. Fox Foundation—welcomed patients and caregivers to learn more about the research process and studies in the surrounding area they may be interested in. Clinical trial recruitment is a challenge, and low participation numbers can slow development of treatments that can improve quality-of-life for Parkinson’s patients.
“I would be remiss to not be as proactive as I can in my own illness and its result,” said Marcia Hornstein of what brought her to the fair. “This was the first time I was able to access so much research at the same time. It was really nice.”
Marcia, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s three years ago, was at the fair with her partner Carla Gazzola. They split their time between New York and North Carolina, and Marcia has participated in a study at Virginia Commonwealth University investigating cognitive function and PD.
Ten research institutions in the New York City area were at the fair recruiting for 42 Parkinson’s clinical studies.
“It’s not easy to get patients interested, so we try any way we can to encourage participation,” said Loreta Quartarolo from The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. She was impressed by the fair attendees’ response to their imaging studies looking to improve PD diagnosis and measure medications’ effects.
Clinical research needs people without Parkinson’s, too. In fact, the MJFF-led Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative is looking for people age 60 or older without PD to get involved by taking a brief online smell survey.
“I’m going to learn more about some studies and see if I can participate,” Carla said.
The New York Clinical Trials Fair was the second in a series of fairs after the first in Chicago last month. The next Clinical Trials Fair is scheduled for Saturday, December 14 in San Francisco. Stay tuned for information on this and other fairs in the coming months to see if we’re coming to a city near you!
Make a profile on Fox Trial Finder to be matched with Parkinson’s research in your area that you may be interested in.