Advancing care for you and all of our patients is our priority. Researchers at Ascension sites of care are working together to advance patient care through clinical trial research. Clinical trials, also known as research studies, investigate medical treatments and devices to see if they are effective and safe. Because of clinical trials, we can better understand and improve how to prevent, diagnose and treat many different diseases.
Deciding to take part in a clinical trial is personal. There are many reasons you may choose to participate. For example, clinical trials can give you the opportunity to receive advanced treatments. During the trial, you are watched closely by your care team for side effects from the treatment or medicine being tested. Before taking part in a trial, you should fully understand the risks and benefits of participating in the research. Your doctor can help answer your questions and help you decide if a clinical trial is right for you.
At select Ascension sites of care, clinical trials are available for cancer, brain and spine conditions, heart and vascular conditions, nursing, pharmacy, COVID-19 and more.
Who can participate in research or clinical trials?
Researchers set guidelines for who can take part in the trial to help make sure it is as safe as possible for you to participate. They also design studies so that the results are based on the treatment being studied and not other factors. Factors that may determine whether you can be in a trial may include: age, previous disease, current health condition, previous treatments, or sex.
How do I decide if a clinical trial is right for me?
Remember that clinical trials and research studies may include unproven treatments that may not be proven effective in treating your disease or condition. Volunteering is a personal choice and may not be right for everyone. The results of research can help advance medical science by helping researchers better understand possible treatments and their safety and effectiveness. Often, there is no cost to participate in trials and financial support is provided for participants, but each trial and guidelines are different.
What questions should I ask before I volunteer for a clinical trial?
Learning more about the clinical trial you are considering can help you figure out if the study is right for you. Some questions to ask before you volunteer are:
- What is the reason for the study?
- What are the eligibility requirements for the trial?
- Can I stop being in the study if I want to?
- How long is this trial? And how often will I have to come for visits?
- How will this affect my daily life?
- Does everyone in the study get the active treatment? Or do some people get a placebo (a control substance with no active product included) or usual care?
- Who is the doctor that will take care of me during the trial or research? Can I see my own doctor during that time?
- What are the risks, benefits and possible side effects?
- What kinds of tests and procedures will I have during this research?
- What happens if I get sick during the research study?
- Will I have to pay anything to participate in this trial?
- Do I get to have my personal results from the study?
Is it safe for me to participate in a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are strictly reviewed to make sure they are as safe as possible. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve the conduct of research trials before they are started. Also, an Institutional Review Board (IRB) (a group of people who reviews studies to make sure that human rights are protected) reviews the study throughout its course to protect the volunteers.
There may be risks for taking part in a clinical trial. The research team will explain the study to you and help you understand the risks before you decide to participate. We encourage you to talk with the study doctor and ask your questions — big and small. We’re here to answer your questions and help you make an informed decision.
Before you participate, you will also be asked to sign an informed consent form. This form gives you information about the potential risks and benefits of participating in the study. Your participation in any clinical trial is completely voluntary. If it becomes unsafe for you to stay in the study for any reason, you can stop your participation at any time. Your health and wellness is our priority.
What happens to the information from the study?
Your personal and health information from the study is private and kept confidential. Researchers must follow strict federal regulations, codes of ethics, and other standards throughout the entire research process. You will need to ask the research team what results can be shared with you and what information you can share about your participation for each clinical trial.