Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Understanding and Finding Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that test how well new medical approaches work in people. Each study answers scientific questions and tries to find better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose or treat a disease. Clinical trials may also compare a new treatment to a treatment that is already available.

Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research.

Every clinical trial has a protocol, or action plan, for conducting the trial. The plan describes what will be done in the study, how it will be conducted, and why each part of the study is necessary. Each study has its own rules about who can participate. Some studies need volunteers with a certain disease. Some need healthy people. Others want just men or just women.

In the United States, an independent committee of physicians, statisticians and members of the community must approve and monitor the protocol. They make sure that the risks are small and are worth the potential benefits.

[Excerpted from the first two links below]

About Clinical Trials

Understanding Clinical Trials
[From ClinicalTrials.gov]

Clinical Trials
[From MedlinePlus]

How Does Clinical Research Work?
[From the National Institutes of Health]

Finding Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials at UCSF Medical Center

ClinicalTrials.gov offers up-to-date information for locating federally and privately supported clinical trials for a wide range of diseases and conditions.

Searching the hundreds of research studies on cancer treatments can be overwhelming.  Using the tools from the following resources can make it easier to find clinical trials that may be right for you.


National Cancer Institute - Clinical Trials Search

If you need more help, contact the librarian at the Patient Health Library for an individual consultation.