Understanding Clinical Trials
A medical research study—often called a clinical trial, research protocol or clinical study—expands our understanding of a disease. It helps doctors determine whether a new treatment is safe, effective and better than the current treatment method. Participating in a clinical trial does not make you a “guinea pig.” In fact, by the time a new medication or treatment option is ready to be tested by patients, it has already passed rigorous government safety standards and is found to have merits as a potential new medical option.
Some research studies look at statistical information gathered by studying population records. Clinical trials need volunteers to assist in different types of studies. For example, prevention trials test new drugs or techniques designed to prevent the development of a particular disease or condition in people at risk. Control trials test treatments for the symptoms and side effects caused by disease and examine quality of life issues. Treatment trials test the effectiveness of new therapies and drugs.
Why join a research clinical trial?
If you have a medical condition, being part of a research clinical trial may actually give you an advantage. You’ll benefit from increased medical attention and support from doctors and nurses who are committed to finding new and better ways to prevent and treat your illness. You may even qualify for free medical therapy. Many doctors find that, in general, their patients do better overall, medically and psychologically, when they take part in scientific studies designed to evaluate a new treatment for their illness.
You may want to participate for other reasons as well. Some clinical trials need healthy participants to help researchers find better methods of diagnosing or treating a disease. Clinical trials also need people who are at risk for certain illnesses or conditions to help researchers find ways to prevent the disease from developing as well as new techniques or technologies to catch the disease early at its most curable stages. Whatever the reason, by participating in a clinical trial you can make an important contribution to the future of medicine.
Find out more about joining a research clinical trial
To find out more about how you may benefit from a new medication or treatment available through Christiana Care’s research program, ask your doctor or call the phone number listed under each medical research specialty. A research nurse will thoroughly review the trial with you, including:
- Its purpose.
- The type of treatment you’ll receive.
- Any alternative treatments.
- The treatment schedule.
- Tests or monitoring involved.
- Possible side effects or risks.
- Possible benefits.
- Your obligations as a participant and your rights as a research volunteer.
- Costs to you or your insurance company.