Clinical Trials Patient Information

Learn more about Clinical Trials

What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a research study involving patients. It is conducted under close supervision from a health care professional. A clinical trial is designed to evaluate new medications and treatments in patients to ensure they are safe and effective. Testing in large groups of people through clinical trials gives researchers a better idea of how factors such as age, gender, diagnosis and medical history may affect how these new promising therapies may work.

Who can participate in a clinical trial?

Patients volunteer to be in a clinical trial. Every trial has guidelines that specify who can and cannot participate. The guidelines are unique to each trial and designed to identify participants who are most like the people who will eventually receive the new medication or treatment. Patients can withdraw at any time without consequences.

How do patients benefit from clinical trials?

Clinical trials provide the best practical evidence that a new medication, medical device, or dose and form of an existing medication will work safely and effectively. You may or may not directly benefit from participation in a clinical trial, but participation may lead to the discovery of a new treatment that could help others in the future with the same condition. It was a clinical trial of the Salk polio vaccine in more than 600,000 children that led to the approval of the first preventive treatment for that disease. Millions of lives have been saved as a result of clinical trials.

Why should I participate in a clinical trial?

Participating in a clinical trial is a personal decision. Those who choose to participate in the clinical trial process help the research community to develop new drugs, devices, and treatments, ensuring better care and a healthier future for all people. At Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), we are committed to providing our patients and community with the best possible care and treatments. Our research scientists are integrated with our clinical departments for a comprehensive, collaborative approach to research.

What should I know before making the decision to participate in a clinical trial?

Before you decide to participate in a clinical trial, get answers to these questions:

  • What is the purpose and duration of the clinical trial?
  • What tests or treatments are involved?
  • How often will I need to visit the doctor or clinic?
  • What are the known risks and possible side effects associated with the clinical trial?
  • What possible benefits can be gained from participating in the clinical trial?
  • What are my other treatment options?
  • Will there be any costs to me?


Things to know about clinical trials at Lehigh Valley Health Network

Lehigh Valley Health Network is a regional leader in clinical trials. We offer research options for various medical conditions including rare cancers. Our decades of work in clinical trials helps you have a safe experience while receiving the very latest in revolutionary care.

If you are considering participating in a clinical trial at LVHN, it’s natural to have questions and our research staff are available to answer all of your questions. If you choose to participate, you receive one-on-one support from a research coordinator throughout your journey.

The decision of whether to participate is yours. Participating in a clinical trial may give you access to new treatments before they are widely available, but also comes with some risks. Our team is equipped to discuss these risks with you and answers any questions you have so you can make an informed decision you feel good about. We coordinate every step of your care, including any additional testing the clinical trial may require; and, if you change your mind at any time, let us know. You have the option to leave a clinical trial for any reason at any time.