A clinical trial is a research study that “prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes.” Practically speaking, clinical trials are research studies that find and test new treatments or procedures. Without clinical trials, we would not have the medical and scientific advances that we have today.
There is a great deal of confusion about clinical trials. This Quick Guide provides resources to help you learn more about participating in a clinical trial, to dispel myths about clinical trials, and to help you find clinical trials that might be available to you.
Work with your health care team to identify a clinical trial that might be a good fit for you. There are many resources available to help you find a clinical trial:
Just because you are eligible for a trial does not mean that you will be accepted. Some clinical trials only accept a certain number of patients. Or, you may want to participate in a trial that you are not eligible for because you have already had different treatments. In that case, you can ask your doctor to request a special exception to access the trial, but if approved, your results will not be included in the research study. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has an Expanded Access program that allows people access to drugs or devices that have not yet been approved by the FDA.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) and Genentech have partnered together to provide information about participating in clinical trials. Triage Cancer participated in this series of videos providing useful information to help you understand clinical trials and make choices about what is best for you.
When deciding to participate in a clinical trial, you should also consider other factors that might impact your decision, such as:
Here are other questions to help you make a decision about whether or not to participate in a clinical trial.
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