Clinical research is medical research that involves people like you. When you volunteer to take part in clinical research, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future. Clinical research includes all research that involves people.What are clinical trials and why would I want to take part?
Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Clinical trials can study:
The goal of clinical trials is to determine if these treatment, prevention, and behavior approaches are safe and effective. People take part in clinical trials for many reasons. Healthy volunteers say they take part to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. People with an illness or disease also take part to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have added (or extra) care and attention from the clinical trial staff. Clinical trials offer hope for many people and a chance to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future.What are the types of clinical trials?
There are different types of clinical trials.
Clinical trials are conducted in a series of steps called “phases.” Each phase has a different purpose and helps researchers answer different questions.
Risks and potential benefits
Clinical trials may involve risk, as can routine medical care and the activities of daily living. When weighing the risks of research, you can think about these important factors:
Most clinical trials pose the risk of minor discomfort, which lasts only a short time. However, some study participants experience complications that require medical attention. In rare cases, participants have been seriously injured or have died of complications resulting from their participation in trials of experimental treatments. The specific risks associated with a research protocol are described in detail in the informed consent document, which participants are asked to consider and sign before participating in research. Also, a member of the research team will explain the study and answer any questions about the study. Before deciding to participate, carefully consider risks and possible benefits.
Well-designed and well-executed clinical trials provide the best approach for you to:
Risks to taking part in clinical trials include the following:
The goal of clinical research is to develop knowledge that improves human health or increases understanding of human biology. People who take part in clinical research make it possible for this to occur. The path to finding out if a new drug is safe or effective is to test it on patients in clinical trials. The purpose of ethical guidelines is both to protect patients and healthy volunteers, and to preserve the integrity of the science.
Informed consent is the process of learning the key facts about a clinical trial before deciding whether to participate. The process of providing information to participants continues throughout the study. To help you decide whether to take part, members of the research team explain the study. The research team provides an informed consent document, which includes such details about the study as its purpose, duration, required procedures, and who to contact for various purposes. The informed consent document also explains risks and potential benefits.
If you decide to enroll in the trial, you will need to sign the informed consent document. You are free to withdraw from the study at any time.
Most, but not all, clinical trials in the United States are approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure that the risks are minimal when compared with potential benefits. An IRB is an independent committee that consists of physicians, statisticians, and members of the community who ensure that clinical trials are ethical and that the rights of participants are protected. You should ask the sponsor or research coordinator whether the research you are considering participating in was reviewed by an IRB.
Published: Aug. 31, 2020