Q: How can I find out about clinical trials and possibly participate in one?
Dr. Donnica: One of the biggest challenges for medical researchers who conduct clinical trials is finding the appropriate patients; one of the biggest challenges for patients who would like to be in a clinical trial is finding an appropriate study in a convenient location. Volunteers for clinical trials who meet the study requirements are usually very well received and receive excellent, comprehensive medical care, often at greatly reduced or no charge. In some studies, patients may even receive financial reimbursement for travel or other incidental expenses; in some studies targeting women, childcare is either provided or costs are reimbursed. In most studies, patients received free medicine for the duration of the trial and may even continue to receive free medication after the trial concludes. Despite the tangible benefits of clinical trial participation, the intangible benefits may be the greatest- knowing that you have contributed to the advancement of medical knowledge, particularly in an area that personally affects you or a family member.
If you would like to be in a clinical trial, the best place to start is usually to discuss it with your own physician. Whether or not your doctor is involved with clinical trials, s/he can advise you regarding the suitability of your condition for a trial and whether it would be in your best interests medically to participate. S/he may also be able to direct you to an on-going clinical trial site.
Another option is to contact the relevant department in a nearby academic health science center and inquire about on-going trials in your condition area and to ask for a specific referral to a clinical researcher on their staff.
Many clinical trial sites seek patients with public service announcements on radio, television or in newspapers. The Internet may provide the best source of public information, however, on clinical trials. The best site to start is with Center Watch. You can use this site to find a wealth of information related to clinical trials, such as a listing of more than 41,000 industry and NIH (including the National Cancer Institute) sponsored clinical trials as well as a listing of new therapies recently approved by the FDA. The site also provides abundant information about clinical trials and has a clinical trial notification service for which you can apply.
The Society for Women's Health Research has also put together a great website
for women regarding participating in clinical trials:
Created: 9/24/2000  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 1/23/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.