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Human Pincushion Trial A Success

Three or four months back, I was getting set to take part in a research trial for a new ms drug. It's similar to Tysabri, but taken orally as pills. The prelim tests went well, and I was due to start the drugs at the beginning of Septermber, but had a relapse just at that time, so they couldn't take me on.

Now things have calmed down, I went back today for a new set of prelim tests to see if I can take part now.The folk at the shiny new Clinical Research Facility are really friendly and helpful, and seem really pleased that I should be able to take part after all; they do a good job of making you feel like a valued part of the team, not just a lab rat.

The neuro part of the exams are done by a cheerful consultant of germanic background, to judge from his accent. We did several laps around the central access core of the hospital to assess my walking ability, and chatted about the tv series 'House', which he finds unrealistic but amusing. I was surprised to discover that my right side is slightly less sensitive to touch than the left, which hadn't been evident on the exam about three months ago.

We ran into some trouble taking blood samples - not my favourite way of passing the time at best. The nurse tried one elbow - couldn't get anything. Tried the other elbow and got a couple of samples but the blood just wasn't coming out, even with another nurse to hold things at the right angle. Nurse Emma tried to find a vein on the first elbow again, but could only find one which seemed to go across the arm, instead of along it, which seemed unlikely. They called in the doll-sized male doctor, who tried that elbow for the second time, to no avail. They eventially found a useful vein in the back on my hand. By which time I'd got quite blase about the whole thing, even though I look like I've been attacked by a vampire with a poor sense of direction.

After this was the urine sample, which can be just as difficult as I tend towards uniary hesitency, and can't reliably wee on demand. It's a peculiar life when you feel a sense of achievement in filling a pot with pee. And surely nurses are the only people in the world who smile and say 'thank you' when you present them with a pot of warm urine.

So, another clinic visit and MRI scan in a fortnight, then hopefully, start taking the pills.  


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
22nd Nov, 2007 21:52 (UTC)
How did you get involved in the clinical trials?
23rd Nov, 2007 00:23 (UTC)
The clinical research facility is within the hospital I go to, so I guess the hospital consultants are made aware of which trials they are running. It's a big hospital, part of the university teaching and research facilities, as well as a regular NHS hospital.

When I saw my neuro earlier this year, he asked if I would be interested in taking part in a trial. When I said 'yes', he probably passed the info to the clinic, and they contacted me. No doubt other facilities around the country are also taking part too.

I live on the edges of Sheffield's hospital central - There's a general hospital (with minor injuries unit and drop-in clinic), the women's hospital, the children's hospital, the dental hospital and a cancer hospital all clustered within a few minutes' walk of one another. And all a few minutes walk from where I live, which is convenient.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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