How to be a study volunteer

Yes. Spectratox pays volunteers for their participation in drug trials/studies and provides local transport or reimburses travel expenses.

The reimbursement for each study varies according to the time volunteers devote to the study, the number of visits they need to make and the inconvenience of the schedule. An independent Research Ethics Committee approves the payments we make to volunteers for trial participation. Study payments are made at the end of the study, after the final visit to the laboratories, by cheque in the volunteer’s name.

These studies assist the development of new drugs and medications. Any profits earned by Spectratox in conducting these studies are used in research and educational activities for the benefit of patients.

No qualifications or skills are needed to be a study volunteer. You will need to be aged over 18 but there is generally no upper age limit provided you are in good health.

You can be included in a study when you have successfully undergone a general health check and examination and declared any medications (including over the counter) or health treatments you are undergoing or have recently received. The health check may include pulse, blood pressure and heart checks and the taking of blood samples. Each study may include specific checks. If you are not eligible for one study, we will keep your details on our database for future studies.

In a drug study, you will be randomly allocated to take either a trial drug or a dummy drug (placebo) usually in tablet form or cream. By shining light rays on your skin we will accurately assess any impact the trial drug has on your skin’s response to light. Others types of studies may involve trialling a new light source or studying whether an agent taken by mouth or applied to the skin may protect against the effects of light on the skin.  

Typically, participation in a study usually lasts approximately 10 – 14 days. Studies are usually out-patient based but in rare cases up to 7 days may be residential. You will normally be able to carry on your usual activities between your visits to the Photobiology Unit. However, each study may have specific timeframes and limitations and these will be discussed in detail with you. Studies of photoprotection may last longer as you may need to take the supplement for a few weeks before light testing.

You are not allowed to take part in more than one study at a time and we recommend a gap of 12 weeks between studies. This is for your wellbeing and it is important that you do not take part in trials too often. Please feel free to contact us to discuss any questions that you may have.

Please telephone us on 01382 383290. You will be asked some general health questions. If you are suitable for our studies we will contact you to arrange an appointment at our Clinical Trials Suite in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, where you will be seen by the Research Nurse and a Doctor who will give you a short physical examination and ask some more questions. You will be asked to bring photographic identification (e.g. a passport or photo driving licence) with you and your GP contact details.

This type of study work is covered by the sponsoring pharmaceutical company. Spectratox carries additional insurance.

To conduct our studies in a safe and ethical manner, we contact your GP to check that you are eligible to take part and to check your medical history.

Your details will be held on a secure volunteer database that is only accessed by the Spectratox team. If you take part in a study we will ask you for permission to share the information with the sponsoring company. If necessary, your records may also be disclosed to regulatory authorities for medicines in the UK and elsewhere. You are entitled to access information held about you if you so wish.