Clinical Trials FAQs
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.
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. These criteria are often based on the potential participant’s age, gender, medical history and current health. 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. 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?
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. Research efforts span a variety of clinical areas: (include list?)
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?
Clinical research coordinators in LVHN’s Network Office of Research and Innovation (NORI) will help guide you through the decision-making process.