What is a Clinical Trial?

“Clinical trial” is the scientific term for a test or study of a drug or medical device in people. These tests are done to see if the product is safe and effective for people to use. Doctors and other health professionals run the tests according to strict rules set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA sets the rules to make sure that people who agree to be in the studies are treated as safely as possible.

Why Volunteer?

By volunteering in a clinical trial, you can try a new treatment that may or may not be better than those that already exist. You can also help others better understand how the treatment works in people of different races and genders.

Why Should Minorities and Women Participate in Clinical Trials?

In the past, most drug testing had been done on white males. This means that some groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians, Asians, Pacific Islanders and women, had not always been included in clinical trials. Because drugs may work differently in these groups than on white males, greater diversity in clinical trial volunteers results in more meaningful study results.

What Happens in a Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials are done to test whether new products are safe and work against disease. Study products are tested to see how they compare to standard treatments or to no treatment if there is not presently one.

Many clinical trials require that neither the patient nor the doctor know whether the patient is receiving the study treatment, the standard treatment, or a placebo (an inactive substance that looks like the drug being tested). In other words, some people may be getting no treatment at all.

What Questions Should I Ask?

As a potential volunteer, here are some questions to ask your doctor to help you decide if you want to take part in a clinical trial:

  • What is the clinical trial trying to find out?
  • How often are volunteers required to go to the doctor or clinic?
  • Will volunteers be hospitalized? If so, how often and for how long?
  • What are the costs for volunteers?
  • What follow-up will there be?
  • What will happen at the end of the clinical trial?
  • How long will the clinical trial last?

How Can I Volunteer for Clinical Trials?

One good way to find out if there are any treatments in clinical trials that might help you is to ask your doctor. You may also call in and talk to a Jean Brown Research representative.  We can help answer your questions about current clinical trial opportunities in Utah.  Please call Jean Brown Research at 801-261-2000.