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Clinical trials at Pacific Neuroscience Institute
December 1, 2021

The Role of Clinical Trials at PNI

by Amelia Garrison

What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are research studies that play a critical role in the advancement of clinical and medical knowledge about disease.

Doctor shaking hands with his elderly dementia patient
Dr. Scott Kaiser (right) with a patient at Pacific Brain Health Center.

Data gathered throughout a clinical trial provides valuable insight into how to detect, prevent, or treat an illness. Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend that you consider participating in a clinical trial. It is important to know that a clinical trial protocol is different from the medical care you receive when you see the doctor. At a doctor’s office, the goal is to diagnose and treat the disease with established therapies. By contrast, a clinical trial uses new therapies, current treatments in an innovative way, or new surgical procedures to widen medical understanding of the disease and treatment.

Are clinical trials safe?

Prior to activating a study, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval must be obtained. The IRB weighs the risks and benefits of a study to ensure that all human subject research is conducted in accordance with all federal, institutional, and ethical guidelines.

Why should I participate in a clinical trial?

The decision to participate in a clinical trial is a complex one. Some trials involve healthy volunteers while others recruit patients with a particular illness. Some patients may choose to try a new therapy over their current options, while others volunteer to provide medical information even though they may not receive a direct benefit. The National Institutes of Health has compiled a comprehensive resource of considerations about enrolling in a clinical trial.

What are the clinical trials at PNI?

Targeted Treatment Tumors 08/26
Dr. Jose Carrillo at the Pacific Brain Tumor Center

At PNI, there are a number of upcoming and ongoing trials for patients with various neurological conditions. To enroll in a trial, patients must meet inclusion/exclusion criteria, comply with follow-up appointments, report any side effects and report all medications taken at home in addition to the investigative agent.

At PNI’s Pacific Neuroscience Research Center, there are clinical trials for several conditions:

  • Recurrent and newly diagnosed glioblastoma
  • Chordoma
  • Solid tumors
  • Brain metastases
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Subacute and chronic subdural hematoma
  • Carotid stenosis
  • Essential tremor
  • Major depression
  • Alcohol use disorder

Patients who are interested in joining a clinical trial in their geographical area can search on www.clinicaltrials.gov to find active recruiting studies that pertain to their disease.

For more information email neuro.trials@pacificneuro.org.

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About the Author

Amelia Garrison MPhil

Amelia Garrison

Amelia is the Coordinator of Marketing & Communications at Pacific Neuroscience Insitute (PNI). She leads the PNI blog, newsletter, and digital communications.

Last updated: December 13th, 2021