The ABC’s of Clinical Research

If you’re thinking about volunteering for a clinical research study, it can be intimidating when you don’t fully understand the process and the different research terms. We’re here to help make things a little easier to understand when it comes to some commonly used terms and phrases in clinical research trials.

First off, rest assured that when you make the decision to volunteer to participate in a clinical research study, your welfare and rights are being protected by a special committee called an Institutional Review Board, or IRB. It is the IRB’s job to review and approve each research study before it takes place, with the goal of protecting each person’s rights, safety, welfare, and privacy.

In a clinical research study, you may hear the term Investigator used frequently. You may form an image in your mind of a private eye detective on a mission to solve a case. In reality, investigators in clinical research are, in most cases, board-certified doctors! They are the scientists who manage the studies being performed. In fact, the lead investigator of each study is deemed “Principal Investigator.”

Deciding whether or not to participate in a clinical research study is a very personal decision that should be given a great deal of thought. An individual’s written consent to participate in a study is given after all of the health-related facts pertaining to the study have been disclosed and well as the potential risks. A subject’s decision to participate in a study after reviewing all of the information provided by the study staff and investigators is called Informed Consent. It’s also important to know that Informed Consent must be maintained throughout the study, participants are provided with any new information learned throughout the study and study participants have the right to withdraw from the study at any point in time.

While studies are typically testing new treatments, many clinical research studies utilize placebos. When researchers are looking at new potential treatment options and trying to determine if a treatment really works or not, they often compare the results of the actual treatment to a currently utilized treatment option or a non-treatment placebo.  While receiving placebo may seem like a real drawback, there are a lot of benefits that can come from participation in a clinical trial such as diagnostic testing, close monitoring by medical professionals, education about your condition, available treatments and maintenance.  Compensation is typically provided for your time investment and expenses during the study as well.

Are you ready to find out more about participating in a clinical research study? To see what clinical studies are enrolling near you, CLICK HERE and enter your zip code.  It’s easy to apply and connect with the study staff that can help you decide if a study is right for you.