There are lots of medical researchers that test experimental treatments on volunteers. Many of these are 'double-blind' trials where they test a new medication or treatment against a placebo or 'sham' treatment. In this type of trial neither the doctor administering the treatment or the volunteer receiving knows who is getting the treatment and who is getting the sham treatment.
However there are risks involved. Either the treatment may have unknown side effects which could affect you, which is one of the reasons the FDA require trials of new drugs and treatments on human volunteers, or it may not work in your particular case. If you are part of the 'control group' of the study, you will only be receiving the placebo treatment and so you won't benefit from the treatment personally.
Treatments or medications are usually free for trial volunteers, and some trials even pay people to take part. So if you have serious toe fungus you may want to take part in one of the treatment trials that are currently recruiting participants.
Light Therapy Trial
This trial is testing to see whether light therapy can help cure toenail fungus. To participate in this trial you need to live within easy access to Southborough, Massachusetts and not be taking any anti-fungal medications. You also need to be able to go to several sessions of treatment over a period of a year. This single blind randomized study is being run by Nomir Medical Technologies.
Another trial, run by Talima Therapeutics, Inc from their research centers in Arizona, California, Florida, Ohio and Texas is also looking for volunteers. This will take people from 18 up to the age of 75 who have at least one great toe where at least 25% of the toe has been diagnosed with distal subungual onychomycosis. There are also various exclusions, for example you can't be pregnant or planning to become pregnant during the trial study period. This is a randomized double-blind trial where a micro implant will be put into the affected toe which may or may not have the active ingredient they are testing.
This trial will soon be recruiting volunteers. It is also run by Nomir Medical Technologies and will be run from their research center in Waltham, Massachusetts. To participate in this trial you need to be between the ages of 18 and 64 and suffer with toe nail fungus. They will be testing the second phase of a laser treatment.
A new topical medication trial will soon be recruiting volunteers in Texas. Topica Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is looking for people between the ages of 18 and 65 who have at least one big toe 50% affected with the fungus as well as at least four other toes with the problem. There are also other exclusion criteria, such as you will have to give up using nail polish for the duration of the study.
If you want further information about participating in medical trials contact the National Institutes of Health. Remember, if you apply to be in a trial, you may only meet some of the criteria that the researchers are looking for so don't take it personally if you are rejected.
If you are accepted for a trial, make sure you understand the risks involved and know that the treatment it might not work in your case.