To start, what exactly is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are carefully planned research studies that have led to important discoveries such as new drugs, devices, procedures, biologics, and diagnostic approaches. These new discoveries can lead to new medicines to treat cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.
test the best way to detect certain diseases or health conditions.
test new treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches of surgery.
determine better tests or procedures for diagnosing a particular disease or condition.
Quality of Life Trials
explore and measure ways to improve the comfort and quality of life of people with a chronic illness.
What are the different phases of a clinical trial?
Why should I join a clinical trial?
Potential benefits include:
The opportunity to become involved in the testing of a new drug that may have potential to improve your condition
Close contact with the study team for management of
Contributing to medical science, which may help others now and in the future
What interventions are in place to ensure my safety?
There are many rules and regulations in place to ensure that present-day clinical trials do not take advantage of participants, especially vulnerable individuals, which may include pregnant women, individuals of low socio-economic status, and the elderly. The IRB (Institutional Review Board), which will review the clinical trial, is also responsible for ensuring that the clinical trial does not take advantage of individuals. This includes ensuring informed consent is received from participants, participants are not coerced to stay in the study and may leave at any time without an explanation, and that participants are always fully aware of the intervention throughout the trial.
The Importance of Diversity in Research:
Diversity is important because the cause of the same disease can differ by population, which could result in medical professionals providing the same treatment approach for different populations. Medical treatments can vary in effectiveness within groups and even vary within individuals in the same group, which creates a need for a very diverse population of participants to ensure everyone can benefit.
What is a health disparity?
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, a health disparity is a health outcome that is seen to a greater or lesser extent between populations. These populations can include race, age, socioeconomic status, sex, gender identity, and disability. We can work to eliminate health disparities by ensuring all populations are represented in research, so everyone can benefit from scientific discoveries that will improve health.
Why should minority populations participate in research?
It is important that all populations are represented in research because health outcomes differ by population. Since certain diseases are more prevalent in certain groups, such as sickle-cell anemia in African-Americans, it's important that there is a diverse group of participants in any study so biological, social, and environmental factors can be studied.
Hear from volunteers:
KT - Hodgkin's Lymphoma Trial
Photo: KT Jones
K.T. Jones has leapt from one medical study to another during his 15-year struggle with cancer, and he has no doubt that the experimental treatments he has received have saved his life.
Nicholas - Sickle Cell Trial
"Participating in the studies, I think it helps the doctors figure out more about the disease and, you know, come out with more medicine and just help out everybody who has it," says Nicholas. "So their families and them won't be, you know, in pain crisis or in the hospital as much." (NIH)
"A clinical trial saved my life. It was the best decision I ever made..."
Photo: Mykal McEldowney, The Greenville (S.C.) News)
"I am a great example of the extraordinary multiple values of a clinical trial..." Read more here.
Juliana - Sickle Cell Trial
Juliana was born with sickle cell anemia, a condition in which the body’s red blood cells are sickle-shaped. It slows or blocks blood flow to parts of the body, causing intense pain called “crisis.” Hear Juliana tell her story about how participating in a clinical trial saved her life.