About Clinical Trials

What is a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial is a research study in human volunteers to answer specific health questions. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the safest and fastest way to find treatments that work in people, and new ways to improve health.

There are different kinds of clinical trials, including those to study:

  • prevention options
  • new treatments or new ways to use existing treatments
  • new screening and diagnostic techniques
  • options for improving the quality of life for people who have serious medical conditions

Many clinical trials are done to see if a new drug or device is safe and effective for people to use. Clinical trials are also done for other reasons. Some compare existing treatments to determine which is better. The current, approved treatments are called the "standard treatments." Sometimes clinical trials are used to study different ways to use the standard treatments so they will be more effective, easier to use, and/or decrease side effects. Sometimes, studies are done to learn how to best use the treatment in a different population, such as children, in whom the treatment was not previously tested.

Why Participate in a Clinical Trial?

It is important to test drugs and medical products in the people they are meant to help. It is also important to conduct research in a variety of people because different people may respond differently to treatments. Regulatory Authorities seek to ensure that people of different ages, races, ethnic groups, and genders are included in clinical trials.

Some people participate in clinical trials because they have exhausted standard (approved) treatment options - which either did not work for them, or they were unable to tolerate certain side effects. Clinical trials may provide another option when standard therapy has failed. Other people participate in trials because the want to contribute to the advancement of medical knowledge.

People should learn as much as possible about the clinical trials that interest them. Prospective participants should understand what happens during the trial, the type of health care they will receive, and any costs to them - which may or may not include the cost of the product, costs associated with administering the product, etc. Patients should feel comfortable discussing their questions and concerns with members of their health care team to determine whether or not participating in a clinical trial for their medical issue is appropriate.

Information about Clinical Trials

PRA supports the willingness of patients to participate in clinical trials to not only treat their disease but to further the advancement of the field of medicine to help develop drugs that will improve the lives of future patients. To find out more, please see below links and information:

If you need assistance locating a trial for a specific medical indication, The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) (www.ciscrp.org), offers a free service, Search Clinical Trials, which is an easy way to find clinical trials in your area based on your geographic location, distance willing to travel and your medical condition. Simply call 1-877-MED HERO to speak with CISCRP's staff. CISCRP will gather your information, conduct a search for you and send you the results. Searches can also be requested by filling out this form.