June 16, 2006 - Posted at 3:12 p.m. CST
JONESBORO, AR -- Finding the cure for a disease is a long, hard process. Scientists and researchers gather information by studying clinical trials. The NEA Clinic in Jonesboro is celebrating 25 years of clinical trials...patients helping future patients.
"I had the usual standard side effects. I lost all my hair, my eyelashes, my eyebrows. I didn't have to mess with any of it," said cancer survivor Terri Loueallen.
Loueallen was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2005. She chose her treatment as part of a clinical trial....receiving lower dosages of chemotherapy once a week, rather then larger doses every three weeks.
"The clinical trial was the easy way, when you stop and really think about it. It was the easy way to do it. You just had to be somewhere every Monday at the same time. And that's not a lot to ask out of your life to save your life," said Loueallen.
Clinical trials often use investigational drugs as additional treatments.
"Usually people don't know if they are getting the study drug or a placebo and again, that's the only way we can tell in a scientific manner whether they are seeing a beneficial effect with the actual drug," said medical oncologist & hematologist Dr. Carroll Scroggin.
But for some patients, it can become a win-win situation.
"They will basically pay for the patient to see a doctor. They will pay for a nurse to help track the patient, do the paperwork that is necessary. They will pay for the medicines and then provide them, pay for the labs. So basically, everything associated with that study is paid for by that study. The patients even get reimbursed for their time and effort and their gas," said Paul Koros of Research Solutions.
Now cancer free, Loueallen plans on returning to her job at the state probation and parole office and has hopes of making others aware.
"I'm looking forward to getting back into a routine. I have a lot of plans, I intend to become a breast cancer awareness educator," said Loueallen.