Why Participate

Why Join a Research Trial

Participants in clinical research trials can find it a positive and rewarding experience in many ways.

Some of the benefits to patients include:

  • Contributing to the development of new therapies and improving our understanding of existing therapies
  • Receiving close medical attention and evaluation by well-trained, friendly health professionals
  • Receiving diagnostic testing, evaluation, and treatment at no cost
  • Receiving compensation for time and travel in the form of a stipend
  • Learning more about their medical condition and potential treatment options

Patient participation is always voluntary, and patients can choose to withdraw at any time, for any reason.  Our staff will answer any question you may have in a friendly, professional manner and will strive to make your visit as pleasant as possible.

FAQs About Clinical Studies

What are clinical studies?

Clinical studies are research studies in which people participate as volunteers. Clinical research studies (sometimes called trials or protocols) are a means of developing new treatments and medications for diseases and conditions. There are strict rules for clinical trials, which are monitored by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some of the research studies at the Clinical Center involve promising new treatments that may directly benefit patients.

Why should I participate?

Thanks to thousands of individuals like you who take part in clinical research, scientific and technological advances have improved health outcomes for millions of people. The role of volunteers in clinical research is crucial in the quest for knowledge that will improve the health of future generations. Without your help, the research studies at the Clinical Center cannot be accomplished.

What are Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III studies?

Phase I studies are used to learn the “maximum tolerated dose” of a drug that does not produce unacceptable side effects. Patient volunteers are followed primarily for side effects, and not for how the drug affects their disease. The first few volunteer subjects receive low doses of the trial drug to see how the drug is tolerated and to learn how it acts in the body. The next group of volunteer subjects receives larger amounts. Phase 1 studies typically offer little or no benefit to the volunteer subjects.

Phase II studies studies involve many more participants and examine how a drug works inside the body, evaluating whether it treats a certain condition or has any side-effects. Some volunteer subjects may benefit from a phase II study.

Phase III studies compare new drugs against a commonly used drugs. Some volunteer subjects are given the new drug and some the commonly used drug. The trial is designed to find how a new drug can contribute to managing a particular condition. Determining the true benefit of a drug in a clinical trial is difficult.

Are there risks involved in participating in clinical research?

There are risks involved in clinical research, as there are in all aspects of medical care. In thinking about the risks of research, it is helpful to focus on two things: 1. The degree of harm that could result from taking part in the study, and 2. The chance of any harm occurring. Most clinical studies pose risks of minor discomfort, lasting only a short time. Some volunteer subjects, however, experience complications that require medical attention. The specific risks associated with any research protocol are described in detail in the consent document, which you are asked to sign before taking part in research. In addition, the major risks of participating in a study will be explained to you by a member of the research team, who will answer your questions about the study. Before deciding to participate, you should carefully weigh these risks. Although you may not receive any direct benefit as a result of participating in research, the knowledge researchers can gain from your participation may help others.