Clinical Trials for Macular Degeneration
It can take many years for a potential treatment for macular degeneration to work its way from the laboratory to rigorous testing and, finally, approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The process begins in the lab with basic investigations using cells and specially bred animal models. Next, translational research moves the therapy to the human setting. Finally, the drug is tested on humans in clinical trials divided into three phases: I, II, and III. These trials are used to determine the safety and effectiveness of the drug on progressively larger numbers of people. Normally, if the results are positive in the first two phases the therapy will proceed to Phase III. The data gathering, analysis, and reporting that are necessary to complete these trials can take several years.
Both people with macular degeneration and healthy individuals may participate in clinical trials. Each trial has its own protocol or set of guidelines, and volunteers must meet certain criteria to qualify for inclusion. Before making a decision, get as much information as possible about the trials and think seriously about the benefits and risks of volunteering. Those who participate may have access to medical care, and they are helping others with macular degeneration by taking these experimental treatments. However, there may be side effects or the treatments may not be effective, and participation will require a time commitment.
The following websites contain information on clinical trials:
National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute
Provides information on government-sponsored human trials and recruitment, with locations, purpose, eligibility requirements, and phone contacts' www.clinicaltrials.gov
CenterWatch Clinical Trials Listing Service
Provides information about clinical research, including listings of active industry and government-sponsored clinical trials, research on new drug therapies, and drugs recently approved by the FDA.
ResearchMatch is a free and secure registry that brings together people who are trying to find research studies and researchers who are looking for people to participate in their studies.
Disclaimer: The above organizations are not affiliated with the BrightFocus Foundation. BrightFocus is not responsible for the content of these websites and does not endorse any particular programs offered by these organizations.
Last Review: 04/26/13