Clinical Trial Game Strong!

Dr. Sandy is back! Today she is sharing her insight on clinical trials at Johnson Dermatology. It’s such an honor to have Dr. Sandy in Fort Smith. So many patients have benefited from studies that wouldn’t be in our community without her hard work! Here’s one of my favorites frI’m Dr. Sandy….


Are you someone who watches the commercials on TV or reads the advertisements about new medications or treatments? Have you ever wondered how those treatments became available? Have you ever wished there was a better option to treat your condition(s)? Have you ever wanted to personally benefit while helping the world as a whole?

I know that Nina usually does not ask questions of her readers but I am interested to know what your answers or thoughts are to the above questions. (Thank you Nina for sharing your blog again with me. ) Clinical trials provide an avenue for people to participate in research that potentially may help the world and themselves at the same time. The clinical trials and research team at Johnson Dermatology has been very busy. Crystal, Christa and Lara are our trained clinical trials coordinators. They are currently enrolling patients/subjects/people with the following conditions: warts, acne, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea. Participating in a clinical trial as opposed to receiving regular standard medical care has pros and cons. In my opinion, I think the pros often outweigh the cons—depending on the study. We have turned away many studies if I think the risks of treatment outweigh and potential benefits for the individual participant in the study. This is important to us because the study participant also happens to be our patient. As a physician, I took an oath to first do no harm—I take that oath seriously and so only offer approved or study treatments that I feel offer a great risk/benefit ratio.

Some of the pros of participating in a clinical trial are that you personally help to advance science, you may get cutting edge treatment that is not yet available to the general public at no cost to you, you often get financially compensated for your time, and you are closely monitored by us, the sponsor, the government and many others—yes Big Brother is definitely watching every move in a clinical trial. Some of the cons are that in certain studies you may get placebo (not actual treatment), it often requires more office visits, it often requires keeping a diary and some work on your part.

Obviously, I am a science nerd and am therefore biased. I love clinical medicine and research. The first clinical trial that I participated in was a project assigned to me by the Chair of Dermatology at UAMS during residency in 1997. It was testing Candida skin test antigen for the treatment of warts. That project was exciting. Now, almost 20 years later, I am still studying warts and conducting research. This project also provided me with lots of opportunity to which I am grateful. Even though my family and friends don’t care that I got to work on the medications that are now advertised on television to treat psoriasis, I know and care. Since they don’t care, I am going to share with you that I have been awarded 8 grants and 3 patents. I have participated in more than 40 clinical trials and have written more than 60 scientific articles. I coauthored a book on warts with my mentor Dr. Bob Brodell (to whom I am forever indebted). Since all of that work and $4 will get me my favorite drink at Moka Joe’s (skinny non fat vanilla steamer), I must admit that the best part of clinical research is that I have gotten to closely interact with many international experts and wonderful patients in the past 20 years. Personally, it is so rewarding. One of the best rewards is that one of our patients in her 50’s who has suffered with a debilitating skin condition all of her life now has had clear skin for the past year from treatment from one of the medicines in one of our trials. She acts like a new person—we can tell she is not only healthier, she is also happier. She is one of the many reasons that I love what I do. I truly am blessed to do what I do. I am honored to work with 50 amazing people at Johnson Dermatology. I am honored that together we are able to provide the highest level of Dermatologic care. We not only offer clinical trials so that our patients can receive novel therapies and treatments at no cost. We also offer Mohs surgery, skin surgeries, cosmetic services, injections, skin care education, lasers, light devices, body contouring, allergy testing for contact dermatitis, as well as dermatologic/skin care for all ages from birth until natural death. Thank you all for trusting us with your skin care wants and needs during the past 10 years. We still can’t stop the feeling.

Stay skintastic, Dr. Sandy


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