Lawrence Whitlock has been dogged by knee trouble for several years. X-rays revealed level four arthritis with joint space between the bones considerably reduced. Although he was in a lot of discomfort, Lawrence wasn't too keen on surgery and wanted to delay it for as long as possible. He then heard about a clinical trial study for a new drug being developed by Pfizer that could block knee pain and improve functionality. So he signed up. Although a little nervous about participation, Lawrence wanted to be involved.
"I felt I was kind of in a corner. I had to do something to maintain some kind of functionality in my life, and the insurance companies were dragging, and things kept getting delayed and delayed, so I participated as a kind of emergency outlet."
The trial was a double-blind study where neither the participants nor the experimenters knew who was receiving the experimental treatment. However, Lawrence is sure he was given the medication because of the changes he soon noticed.
Just Short of a Miracle"I am positive without a shadow of a doubt that I got the drug. I was able to function for almost two years because of the trial doctors working with me and giving me the shots.
"The trial was supposed to last for six weeks, but I ended up being in it for two years because they wanted to see the long-term effects, and I was a very good subject. The difference was unbelievable, just short of a miracle, actually. The only reason we stopped the program is because I finally got approved for a knee replacement.”
Lawrence had a completely collapsed knee, but with the experimental treatment could play tennis and do all sorts of things arthritis had prevented him from doing.
Unfortunately, although his subsequent knee replacement surgery wasn't a failure, Lawrence says it wasn't a success either.
"I am in as much pain as I was in before, and even though my leg is stronger, it hurts all the time. I was hoping I would get back to full functionality and I think I got back to about 80%. I am very grateful, but if I could do things over again, I would probably have delayed surgery even longer."
Keen to participate in other clinical trials, Lawrence welcomes CenTrial's free service that matches patients and volunteers to experimental studies.
"I've applied for a couple of studies because I've got a lot of stuff wrong with me. I kind of lived on the edge for most of my life and I've kind of beaten this body up real bad, but I'm on Methotrexate, so I can't qualify for some studies. CenTrial is a fantastic site to me, and I certainly endorse it 100%."