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.
Treatments might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments.
The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Clinical trials can also look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.
People participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Healthy volunteers say they participate to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. Participants with an illness or disease also participate to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have the additional care and attention from the clinical trial staff.
Clinical trials offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future.
The Benefits of Participating in a Clinical Trial
Participating in a clinical trial can be a very satisfying and worthwhile experience. People choose to participate in clinical trials for a number of different reasons. Some possible benefits include:
- Taking an active role in managing your own care.
- Gaining access to new treatments before they are more widely available
- Helping advance our knowledge of new diseases.
- Receiving a treatment that works for you or your child
What About the Risks?
Although there are many benefits to participating in a clinical trial, it is important to remember there also are risks. Possible risks include:
- Side effects of the medications or treatments being studied
- Unwanted events during the trial that may or may not be related to the study drug
- Failure of a treatment to work
The research team will continuously monitor your or your child’s health and safety throughout the trial, whether you are receiving the drug being studied or a placebo
If the research team notes any worsening of your health during the trial, they will notify your regular doctor and the study sponsor to determine if it is related to the study drug. You should contact the study team if you notice any worsening of your or your child’s health or have any concerns during the clinical trial.