Questions to ask your doctor
Clinical trials are scientific research studies intended to discover better ways to treat or prevent diseases.
- Doctors use clinical trials to understand the safety and effectiveness of new treatments in patients. Such studies are vital to the development of new treatments for diseases such as cancer. Our goal is the participant make an informed decision about participating in a clinical trial and to help the individual understand the clinical trial process.
- Our goal is the participant make an informed decision about participating in a clinical trial and to help the individual understand the clinical trial process.
- All clinical trials are voluntary. Participants always have the right to choose whether or not to take part in a clinical trial. The level of care the patient receives should not be affected by this decision. The patient has the right to leave a clinical trial at any time, for any reason. If the subject decides to leave, the health care team may ask that the participant to continue to be monitored for a period of time to look for any long-term effects of treatment.
Clinical Trial Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens during a clinical trial?
The clinical trial process depends on the kind of trial being conducted . The clinical trial team includes doctors and nurses as well as social workers and other health care professionals. They check the health of the participant at the beginning of the trial, give specific instructions for participating in the trial, monitor the participant carefully during the trial, and stay in touch after the trial is completed.
What are the benefits and risks of participating in a clinical trial?
Clinical trials that are well-designed and well-executed are the best approach for eligible participants to:
- Play an active role in their own health care.
- Gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available.
- Obtain expert medical care at leading health care facilities during the trial.
- Help others by contributing to medical research.
- There are risks to clinical trials.
- There may be unpleasant, serious or even life-threatening side effects to experimental treatment.
- The experimental treatment may not be effective for the participant.
- The protocol may require more of their time and attention than would a non-protocol treatment, including trips to the study site, more treatments, hospital stays or complex dosage requirements.
Does a participant continue to work with a primary health care provider while in a trial?
Yes. Most clinical trials provide short-term treatments related to a designated illness or condition, but do not provide extended or complete primary health care. In addition, by having the health care provider work with the research team, the participant can ensure that other medications or treatments will not conflict with the protocol.
Can a participant leave a clinical trial after it has begun?
Yes. A participant can leave a clinical trial at any time. When withdrawing from the trial, the participant should let the research team know about it, and the reasons for leaving the study.
What are the different types of clinical trials?
- Treatment trials test experimental treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy.
- Prevention trials look for better ways to prevent disease in people who have never had the disease or to prevent a disease from returning. These approaches may include medicines, vitamins, vaccines, minerals, or lifestyle changes.
- Diagnostic trials are conducted to find better tests or procedures for diagnosing a particular disease or condition.
- Screening trials test the best way to detect certain diseases or health conditions.
- Quality of Life trials (or Supportive Care trials) explore ways to improve comfort and the quality of life for individuals with a chronic illness.
How is the safety of the participant protected?
The ethical and legal codes that govern medical practice also apply to clinical trials. In addition, most clinical research is federally regulated with built in safeguards to protect the participants. The trial follows a carefully controlled protocol, a study plan which details what researchers will do in the study. As a clinical trial progresses, researchers report the results of the trial at scientific meetings, to medical journals, and to various government agencies. Individual participants' names will remain secret and will not be mentioned in these reports.
About Informed Consent
- Informed consent is a process by which participants learn the important facts about a clinical trial to help them decide whether to participate.
- This information includes details about what is involved, such as the purpose of the study, the tests and other procedures used in the study, and the possible risks and benefits. In addition to talking with the doctor or nurse, people receive a written consent form explaining the study.