Clinical Trials

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Volunteers Needed!

For a full list of currently recruiting clinical trials associated with Garvan please see the Australian Clinical Trials website

Cervical dystonia study

Cervical dystonia is a painful, neurological condition where muscles in the neck contact and spasm involuntarily. While there is treatment available for cervical dystonia, there is no cure.

We are running a clinical study sequencing the genomes of people who developed cervical dystonia at a young age (before 30 years) or people with a family history of cervical dystonia to try and identify the genes involved in the development of the disease.

More information:

If you are interested in taking part in the study, your doctor can refer you to see the neurologist leading the study, Dr Kishore Kumar, at the Neurogenetics Clinic at the Royal North Shore Hospital (Neurology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2065; Fax: 0294631058).

Study examining effect of using an approved alkali medication on insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes in overweight and obese individuals. Western diets rich in processed foods and soft drinks and poor in fruit and vegetables increase the body acid load and have been associated with metabolic disease. We are interested in finding out how reducing the body acidity improves metabolic health. This research may help future treatment of those who carry excess weight and are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus.

During a preliminary visit, blood tests and other various body measurements will be taken to assess your suitability for the study. If you match our criteria, we will invite you back for a 4-week study where you will be asked to consume your regular diet with an alkali (sodium bicarbonate). We will test your metabolic response before and after the intervention.  You will reimbursed for travel and your time. 

We are looking for participants who are:

  • Men aged 22-65 years, and
  • Who are overweight or obese (body mass index >28 kg/m2), but otherwise healthy

More information:

Please contact Group Leader Dr Dorit Samocha-Bonet (9295 8309 / ), Clinical Research Fellow Dr Pinar Kozan (9295 8218 / ) or Research Nurse Jennifer Evans (9295 8215 / )

This study has been approved by the St Vincent’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC reference number: SVH 14/157)


Human Brown Fat Research

There are two kinds of fat in the body. The majority of fat is white fat, which stores energy. When there is too much white fat, it leads to diabetes and other metabolic disorders. The other kind of fat is brown fat. It burns energy and releases the energy as heat. Animals with lots of brown fat are lean and metabolically healthy.

Recent research indicates adult humans have brown fat. Whether medication can increase brown fat in humans to improve metabolism is not known.

We are conducting clinical research to find out whether a medication can increase the amount of brown fat in humans.

We invite both men and women to participate in this study. You may be eligible if you are

  • 18-45 years old
  • body mass index <30 kg/m2
  • on only 1 medication for treatment of high blood pressure

More information:

Please contact Dr Paul Lee on (02) 9295 8416 or email


Parkinson’s Disease Study

We are looking for healthy volunteers to act as reference points in our search for desperately needed biomarkers for Parkinson’s Disease. This entails a single visit to Garvan to donate roughly 15ml of blood. We are looking for people who are:

  • over the age of 55 years, and
  • do NOT have a neurodegenerative disorder (eg Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease) or neurological disorder (eg schizophrenia or depression)

More information:

Please contact A/Prof Antony Cooper (02) 9295 8238 or email (St Vincent’s HREC Ref SVH 14/138).