How to Enroll
For information or to enroll in a study:
- Search for the study online and submit a request online.
- Search for the study online and contact the study coordinator listed for that study.
- Contact the Research Office.
People participate in clinical research studies for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons people decide to participate in a clinical research trial is to help others who have the same medical condition in the future. People who participate in clinical trials can also gain access to new treatments before they are available to the general population. Another reason people volunteer is in hopes of improving their own health and to help advance science.
Research has led to important discoveries that can improve our health. Some examples include:
- New drugs to treat heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases
- New medical devices such as pacemakers and internal cardiac defibrillators
- Diagnostic devices such as x-ray machines, ultrasound machines
- New surgical procedures
What are Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials are research studies in which people help doctors find ways to improve health and medical care. Each study tries to answer scientific questions and to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat a disease or chronic illness. Clinical trials are also designed to answer questions related to the safety and effectiveness of a new drug, treatment or device. Clinical trials help to determine if the best treatments are being used or to help the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decide whether or not to approve a drug or device for use.
Being in a clinical trial is different from being a patient. When you are a patient, you and your personal doctor have a great deal of freedom in making decisions about your health care. When you are in a clinical trial, the study doctor and study staff will follow the protocol (plans of the study) as closely as possible without compromising your health. You will work with the research team during the trial. Team members may include doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals. They will provide your care, monitor your health carefully, and give specific instructions about the study. Being in a trial may require more time than your routine clinical care, requiring you to make more trips to the study site, and requiring more tests and procedures. Also, study staff may continue to stay in contact with you after the trial ends.
Responsibilities of Participants
Study participants have certain responsibilities:
- Keep all study appointments.
- Tell your study doctor about any medications you take, even if it is a medicine, vitamin, or health supplement you buy without a prescription.
- Tell your study doctor about any change in any medication you are taking during the study.
- Tell your study doctor about ANY side effects, doctor visits, or hospitalizations.
- Tell your study doctor or research staff if you change your mind about continuing to participate in the study.
- Complete all questionnaires related to the study
Participation in a clinical trial is completely voluntary which means you can choose whether or not you want to participate. Before you make your decision, you should know what the study is about, the possible risks and benefits of being in the study, and what you will have to do to be in the study (tests, appointments, how long the study will last). The research team will talk to you about the study and give you an informed consent that describes the study in detail. You may take the informed consent home to read and discuss with family members. Once you have decided you want to participate in the trial, the study staff will have you sign the informed consent form and give you a copy for your records.
You can stop participating in a clinical trial at any time without the decision affecting your future medical care. You should also be aware that the study sponsor or study doctor can stop your participation in the study at any time, if it is in your best interest, if you do not follow study rules, or if the study is stopped.
The study staff will keep you informed of any important new findings or changes in the study.
Your confidentiality is protected. Data from the study will be shared with the study sponsor; however any publications will not identify you by name or by any other identifying information.
Potential Benefits and Potential Risks
There may be no direct benefit to you if you decide to participate in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is one of the most exact ways to test if a new drug, treatment or device is effective and safe to treat the disease.
Potential benefits include:
- Access to new drugs and interventions before they are available to the general population
- Close monitoring of your health care
- Participants play a more active role in their health care
- An opportunity to make a valuable contribution to research related to your medical condition
- Study visits, study procedures, and study medications are provided at no cost
Potential risks include:
- New drugs, treatments or devices may have side effects or risks unknown to the doctors
- New drugs, treatments or devices may be ineffective, or less effective, than treatments that are currently available
- The new drug, treatment or device may have benefits, but it may not work for you.
How are volunteers protected?
The Federal government has regulations and policies to protect research volunteers. All research studies in the United States must be approved and monitored by an institutional review board (IRB). The IRB is made up of scientists, pharmacists, doctors, nurses, and people from the local community. The IRB reviews studies to ensure the rights and welfare of people participating in research studies.
Regulations also require that researchers thoroughly inform patients about the study's treatments and tests, possible benefits and risks before a patient decides whether or not to participate in the study. This process is call informed consent.