Clinical trials (also called clinical studies) test new methods to diagnose, treat and prevent disease. Only interventions that provide promising results in laboratory tests advance to clinical trials and only interventions that are successful in trials gain approval. Your physicians review the results of these trials to determine the options for your care.
Participants in clinical trials gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help the advancement of medical research. However, a clinical trial may not be appropriate for you if more effective treatment is already available in the marketplace or if you receive a placebo rather than the active investigational agent. Deciding treatment requires sophisticated analysis to determine which approach will be beneficial.
Clinical trials can be tricky and cumbersome to figure out whether the trial makes sense for you. Here are a few first things to look at on the trial’s webpage:
- Still recruiting? When was webpage last updated?
- What is the probability of getting the treatment offered in the trial? (Is there a placebo, what % of patients get each option?)
- Does patient “qualify” based on inclusion/exclusion criteria.
- Is there a location/site acceptable to the patient? (close to home, or will they travel?)
- What are the known side effects of the treatment being offered?
For more information about locating clinical trials, see: PCRI Clinical Trials page
To learn how to evaluate clinical trials, see: Participating in a Prostate Cancer Clinical Trial
The PCRI Helpline is available to assist in evaluating clinical trials.
Page updated 8/1/11