No one in Laura Angelucci’s family has Parkinson’s disease. Her mother has essential tremors, so when Laura noticed a tremor in her pinky she thought she might, too. Her doctors said she didn’t have young-onset PD, but 18 months later a chiropractor suggested she get a second opinion. It was, in fact, Parkinson’s.
At Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Laura’s doctor approached her right away about taking part in a clinical trial. Northwestern is home to many ongoing research studies and Laura said she’d be interested in reading more about them. She’d taken some surveys and participated in other small trials, but this time was approached about a phase II trial for the drug Isradapine.
“They were hoping the drug could slow down the progression, and I thought, ‘That would be nice,’” she said, of her motivation to join. “The other reason to participate was the recognition that somewhere along the line, somebody put themselves out there and participated in trials that I am benefiting from today. That’s just how medical science works.”
Laura joined the 15-month trial for the drug that is already approved to treat high blood pressure. She would go in every four to six weeks for routine tests. The point of the phase II study of this drug was to assess if people without high blood pressure could safely take Isradipine.
Editor’s note: to learn more about Isradipine and other PD therapies in development, click here.
Of her participation, Laura says, “you get a lot of support and monitoring when you’re in a clinical trial. I never felt nervous that I was going to get sick or do something that would damage myself. I felt very confident and comfortable.”
Now at 50 years old, Laura is signed up for Fox Trial Finder, The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s online clinical trial matching tool, so that she can find new opportunities to participate in her area. She’s open to taking part in another trial. Her mother and her partner, Jennifer, are as well, and have participated in some clinical surveys.
“I think that for me, the opportunity to somehow participate in something that could benefit myself or someone else is very rewarding,” Laura said. “I found it very worthwhile.” Today, investigation into Isradipine as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s is in Phase III, thanks to the participation of Laura and other trial volunteers.
You too can accelerate PD research by joining the community of more than 32,000 volunteers on Fox Trial Finder. No amount of funding or other resources can ever make up for a lack of clinical trial volunteers. Sign up for Fox Trial Finder today.
Kate Harmon is a guest blogger for FoxFeed and profiles members of the PD community who have participated in clinical trials when she's not working as a newspaper editor. Her father has Parkinson's and her entire family is involved in the fight. Check out their family blog for more of these PD warriors, www.pcrfinc.com.