Opportunities and Challenges for Junior Investigators Conducting Pain Clinical Trials

Pain Rep. May-Jun 2019;4(3):e639. doi: 10.1097/PR9.0000000000000639.


Introduction: Clinical investigation serves a vital role to advance treatment and management stratgies for patients with pain. For those new to clinical investigation, key advice for both the novice clinical-investigator and the experienced researcher expanding to translational work may accelerate research efforts.

Objective: To review foundational material relevant to junior investigators focusing on pain clinical trials, with an emphasis on randomized controlled trials.

Methods: We reviewed recent publications and resources relevant to clinical investigators, with a particular emphasis on pain research.

Results: Understanding the approaches and barriers to clinical pain research is a first step to building a successful investigative portfolio. Key components of professional development include motivation, mentorship, and collaborative approaches to research. Many junior clinical-investigators face challenges in pursing research careers and sparking iterative progress towards success in clinical trials. Pain-specific research metrics and goals-including hypothesis development, study design considerations, and regulatory concerns-are also important considerations to junior investigators who pursue clinical trails. Approaches to build toward collaborative and independent funding are essential for investigators.

Conclusions: This work provides a foundation for understanding the clinical research process and helps inform the goals and plans of clinical-investigators.

Keywords: Pain; clinical protocol; clinical trial; pain measurement; research design; sample size.