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What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials find new ways to prevent, detect, and/or treat diseases by determining if new approaches to behaviors, preventative measures, or treatments are safe and effective. Clinical trials can study a range of topics including a new drug or combination of drugs, a new way to change behaviors to improve health, or a new way to improve quality of life for people with a short or long term condition.

To learn more about clinical trials, visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You.

Clinical trials help researchers answer questions like: “Which medication is best?”

Video by Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS)

Why is participating in research important?

By participating in a clinical trial, you help researchers and society discover ways to move healthcare forward. Participants make it possible for researchers to find answers to health issues affecting communities. Every medicine that you, your family member, or friend takes to help them feel better at one time had to go through a clinical trial. We sure are happy people decided to participate!

How can I participate?

Once you learn about a clinical trial from a healthcare professional, advertisement, or online search, you can decide if you want to voluntarily participate. A research team member will provide you with information about the clinical trial including duration and tests or producers involved to help inform your decision to participate. Remember participation is always voluntary!

Video by Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS)

What is randomization?

Randomization is a process that allows researchers to compare two treatments by having a computer randomly assign participants to one or the other (like flipping a coin). This is done to allow each participant an equal chance of receiving either treatment. To learn more about randomization, visit the explanation provided by the National Institutes of Health.

Video by Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS)

Who participates in research?

Many people can participate in clinical trials. Researchers will screen people to see if they are a good fit for the study before they are enrolled. Each clinical trial has its own unique list of requirements like age, sex, medical history, and current health conditions to help identify the type of person needed for the study. Being excluded from one trial does not mean that you may not participate in another. There is something for everyone!