MIT employee Andrea Barry signed up immediately after she saw flyers posted around campus seeking volunteers for a study testing an appetite-curbing drug.
She had never done anything like it and didn't know what to expect. After the study at the MIT General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) was completed, Barry said, "It was an excellent experience. I would do it again. The people were very, very nice and easy to work with."
More than 1,000 individuals participated in GCRC projects in the past year. Many of them were members of the MIT community.
Following a physical exam and blood work to see if she qualified, Barry, executive assistant to the director of the Technology Licensing Office, went to the Building E18 facility once a week for 13 weeks to get the pills (she and the other participants did not know whether they were getting the experimental drug or a placebo), to be weighed and to have her blood pressure taken. She also followed the prescribed diet and exercise plan.
"I did lose some weight," Barry said, but the biggest benefit was feeling she'd made a difference. "I felt good about myself because it helped me and also helps other people. It may have helped them find out something that will help this drug come to fruition," she said.
Persons interested in participating in a GCRC study may call the center at 253-6331.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 30, 2002.