Want to get involved in a clinical trial? Here’s how

Author: Paz's story | Posted: 28 June 2017

Angela Wipperman & Paz Garcia – JDRF’s Research Communications Team

We know that many people affected by type 1 diabetes want to get involved in clinical trials, but don’t know where to start. In this post we answer some of your questions about clinical trials, and list some of the search tools you can use to find clinical trials. We highlight one JDRF-funded study as an example of a trial that is now recruiting adults living with type 1 diabetes and hypo unawareness.

What is a clinical trial?

In clinical trials, researchers test how well new medicines and treatments work in people, and check that they are safe. They are a crucial part of developing new medicines and treatments, which have to pass multiple clinical trials before they can be approved for use. This ensures that new medicines and treatments are both safe to use and more effective against a particular condition than any existing treatment.

Should I participate in a clinical trial?

Participating in a clinical trial can bring great benefits, but it is also important to remember that there are always risks when trialling any new treatment. This is why it is crucial that anyone participating in a trial understands both the benefits and the risks. It is important to always talk to your healthcare team about any clinical trial you are considering getting involved in. They will be able to offer advice on the risks and benefits of taking part in a clinical trial.

Where can I find out more about clinical trials?

To find out more about current clinical trials in type 1 diabetes, two of the best websites to use are the NHS’s clinical trials gateway, run by the NHS’s research arm, the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), and the database run by the USA’s National Institute for Health, clinicaltrials.gov, which also includes UK-based trials.

You can also use the search tool on the website of JDRF in the US, which also lists UK trials and studies not funded by JDRF.

On the above sites, you can search by condition, age of participant, and location. This will produce a list of clinical trials that might be relevant to you. You can also ask your healthcare team about any upcoming trials you could take part in.

The NIHR have recently run a campaign about getting involved in research. You can find out more about the different ways of supporting and participating in medical research here.

A JDRF-funded clinical trial

Professor Stephanie Amiel from King’s College London is now recruiting for her clinical trial.

Professor Stephanie Amiel

Prof. Amiel will be carrying out a clinical trial to test a new Hypoglycaemia Awareness Restoration Programme (HARPdoc). HARPdoc is a treatment programme based on existing talking therapies, which has been designed to improve management of hypo unawareness.

To test how effective HARPdoc is, Prof. Amiel is recruiting participants with type 1 diabetes who are having trouble recognising hypos. The participants will complete the therapy programme, which will be delivered by diabetes nurses and dietitians. Prof. Amiel will then look at changes in behaviour and measure the difference in the number of severe hypo episodes participants experienced before and after the therapy programme.

Who can take part?

There are a number of criteria that participants need to meet, including being over 18, and having lived with type 1 diabetes for more than four years. Full details can be found on clinicaltrials.gov, using the code NCT02940873 to find Prof. Amiel’s study, or you can get in touch with the HARPdoc team at HARPdoc@kcl.ac.uk.