Pharmacology Translational Unit
The Pharmacology Translational Unit (PTU) is committed to education and research to provide expert patient care. We conduct dermatology research studies and clinical trials in various disease states for children and adults. For questions related to currently enrolling or upcoming studies, please contact our office or complete a patient survey below.
Our objective is to pioneer a new age in medicine and provide high-quality medical care for our subjects. Our Clinical Research Program offers comprehensive dermatologic and wellness care and participates in clinical research studies as a privately contracted entity. Faculty members are also involved in the training of residents and medical students.
What is Clinical Research?
Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Treatments might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Clinical trials can also look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.
Areas of Research
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
Atopic Dermatitis is a condition that typically develops during childhood and is often associated with allergies or asthma. The main symptom is a rash that typically appears on the arms and behind the knees, but can also appear anywhere.
- Bullous Pemphigoid
Bullous pemphigoid is a rare skin condition that causes large, fluid-filled blisters. They develop on areas of skin that often flex — such as the lower abdomen, upper thighs or armpits. Bullous pemphigoid is most common in older adults.
- Hidradenitis Suppurativa
A chronic skin condition featuring lumps in places such as the underarms or groin. The skin lesions develop as a result of inflammation and infection of sweat glands.
- Prurigo Nodularis
Prurigo nodularis is a skin disease that causes hard, itchy lumps or nodules to form on the skin. The itching can be intense, causing people to scratch themselves to the point of bleeding or pain.
Psoriasis is a condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches. The most common symptom is a rash on the skin, but sometimes the rash involves the nails or joints.
- Healthy Control Subjects
In a clinical study, a person who does not have the disorder or disease being studied may participate in the study so their results can be compared to the findings from those of the group being studied.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to know?
It is important that all of your questions are answered to your satisfaction before agreeing to participate in a study.
A clinical study is led by a principal investigator (PI), who is often a doctor. Usually there is a clinical research coordinator who helps the PI. They check the health of the participant at the beginning of the trial, provide specific instructions for participating in the trial, monitor the patient carefully during the entire trial, and stay in touch after the trial is completed. These are the people who will explain the clinical trial to you and answer your questions.
Below are some items you should discuss with the PI and clinical research coordinator. It is also helpful to talk to your doctor.
- Protocol: Clinical trials are conducted according to an action plan known as a protocol. The protocol is carefully designed to protect the participants’ health and answer specific research questions. A protocol describes who is eligible to participate in the trial, explains what tests, procedures, medications, and dosages will be used, and lists the length of the study and what information will be gathered. You should find out how much of your time will be needed to take part in the trial, any discomfort you may feel, or extra tests that will be required. While some trials require minimal amounts of time and effort, other trials may require a large commitment in time and effort on behalf of the volunteer. Some trials may compensate volunteers for time and travel expenses.
- Institutional Review Board: Each clinical trial in the United States must be approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure that the risks to patients are minimal and are worth any potential benefits. An IRB is an independent committee that consists of physicians, statisticians, and members of the community who ensure that clinical trials are ethical and that the rights of participants are protected. Federal regulation requires all institutions in the United States that conduct or support biomedical research involving people to have an IRB initially approve and then periodically review the research.
- Informed Consent is the process of providing potential participants with the key facts about a clinical trial before they decide whether to participate. To help someone decide whether or not to participate, members of the research team explain the details of the study. If a participant’s native language is not English, translation or interpretive assistance can be provided. The research team provides an informed consent document that includes details about the study, such as its purpose, length of time, required procedures, and who to contact for further information. The informed consent document also explains risks and potential benefits. The participant then decides whether to sign the document. Informed consent is not a contract. Volunteers are free to withdraw from the study completely or to refuse particular treatments or tests at any time. Sometimes, however, this will make them ineligible to continue to participate in the study.
Compensation will be provided for eligible participants. Study treatment will be provided at no cost.
What questions should I ask about the trial?
If you are invited to participate in a clinical trial, feel free to ask any questions or bring up issues concerning the trial at any time. The following suggestions may give you some ideas as you think about your own questions:
- What is the purpose of the study?
- What is required of me?
- What is my role in the study – am I a healthy volunteer or a patient volunteer?
- Will the study directly benefit me?
- Will the study benefit others?
- Are there risks? If so, what are they and what are the chances that they will occur?
- What discomforts are involved?
- What is the total time involved?
- Are there other inconveniences?
- Have I discussed participation in the study with those who are important to me, such as family and friends?
- Do I wish to participate in this study?
Need More Information?
For more information, call 937.245.7500.