What is a clinical trial?
A clinical trial is a research study performed by medical professionals
to evaluate new treatments. Through clinical studies, doctors find new
and better ways to prevent, control and treat illnesses.
Each new treatment or medication is first studied in the laboratory to
determine if it shows promise for patients who have a certain disease.
Once a treatment has been evaluated in the lab, patients are asked to
help test the therapy in a clinical trial. The new treatment must be proven
safe and effective in clinical trials before earning Food & Drug Administration
(FDA) approval for general use.
Why do people participate in clinical trials and research?
There are many reasons to participate in a research study. Many volunteer
to receive new treatments and therapies that are not available otherwise.
Others want to contribute to the advancement of medicine and benefit others
with a similar illness. Whatever the reason, volunteers participating
in clinical research are the driving force behind the medical advances
that improve and heal so many lives.
Each clinical trial has specific criteria or guidelines that are used to
identify appropriate participants - and ensure their safety. These criteria
are based on factors such as age, gender, the type and stage of a disease,
previous treatment history, and other medical conditions.
What should I know about clinical trials?
It's important that you have enough information to make a well-informed
decision before participating in a clinical trial. To do this, we provide
what's called an informed consent document that outlines all the information
you need to know about the study. We'll go over the details of the study
with you and want you to ask questions. You should only join a clinical
trial if you feel you have enough information about the possible risks
and benefits involved.
Joining a clinical trial is always voluntary and you may leave a study
at any time.
What are the benefits and risks of participating in a clinical trial?
Clinical trials provide you with an opportunity to:
- Play an active role in your own health care.
- Gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available.
- Help others by contributing to medical research.
Some potential risks may include:
- Unpleasant, serious, or even life-threatening side effects to experimental
treatment. These will be described in the informed consent document you
will receive before enrolling in the clinical trial.
- There is no guarantee that the experimental treatment may be effective.
In addition, the clinical trial protocol may require more of your time
and attention than would a non-protocol treatment, including trips to
the study site, more treatments, hospital stays or complex dosage requirements.
How do I join a clinical trial?
If you are interested in learning how you might benefit from participating
in a clinical trial, ask your doctor for more information or contact one
of our certified clinical research coordinators at (707) 521-3830.