For Healthcare Professionals

How to participate in a clinical trial?

There are many ways to learn about clinical trials that are seeking participants. Your physician may be able to help direct you towards locally recruiting trials. Online research is also a good approach to learn more about clinical trials, which may be how you landed on this website. Our trial search, located here, lets you look at trials based on condition and/or location. If nothing appears to be available now, keep in mind that new clinical trials open on a regular basis. If you would like to be alerted to new trial opportunities, click here to register for updates related to the specific condition(s) you are interested in.
Before you can enroll in a trial, there are screening steps you must complete. This screening may happen using an online questionnaire and/or a phone call from a trial team member. There may also be additional questions asked at an in-person or online visit. These steps are all important to make sure you are a good fit for the eligibility criteria of the trial. If it is determined you match the criteria, you will then complete the informed consent process.
As you go through the screening process, you will be kept appraised of your trial status. If for example you complete an online questionnaire, you may find out that you don’t match the trial based on your age or indication of a medical condition that is part of the exclusion criteria. Or you may be a match to the trial criteria, but there may not be a location close enough to where you live. If you attend a screening office visit, the trial team may request additional information (such as medical records or tests); after review, they will let you know if you are suitable to enroll. If it turns out you are not a fit for a trial, you may be able to register to be kept updated should a new opportunity open up that may be a better fit for your health profile.
This is very similar to looking for a trial for yourself – conducting online research and/or answering screening questionnaires with (or on behalf of) your loved one. If the individual is determined to be eligible based on the screening process, the next step is to locate a nearby study site. During the first visit, the trial team may request additional information such medical records or tests in order to make a determination. Assuming your loved one is still a good fit, the next steps revolve around the informed consent process where the specifics of the study are presented and discussed. From here the participant can either enroll or decide against participation.
The following are questions to think through or ask of the study team when considering participation in a clinical trial; feel free to write these down or print them off in order to help guide your discussion with a trial team.
  • What is being studied?
  • What Phase is the trial?
  • Has this intervention been looked at before?
  • Is there a placebo involved?
  • Will I know what I am receiving?
  • What kinds of tests and assessments will I have to take?
  • What are my other treatment choices?
  • How often will I have to visit the study site?
  • Does the trial involve any overnight stays?
  • Can any visits happen via telemedicine?
  • Can any visits happen at my home?
  • What are the possible side effects of the investigational product?
  • What kind of follow-up care and/or communication will I receive?
  • Will I be paid to take part?
  • Will I be reimbursed for time and/or travel expenses?
  • Will I keep a diary of experiences?
  • What if I want to stop participating?
  • Will I be notified of results?
Once a clinical trial has completed, the research team evaluates collected data and information in order to determine what the next steps are. After a Phase I or Phase II trial, this data will enable the research team and sponsor to decide whether or not to advance the trial to the next Phase. After a Phase III trial, collected data will be evaluated around overall medical benefit and applicability. Trial results are often published in medical journals, giving the larger medical and scientific communities the chance to weigh in on the trial findings and conclusions. Trial participants should also receive information about the trial outcomes; feel free to ask the trial team about results once the trial concludes.