Modern medical care depends on the invention and use of new treatments for disease.1 Clinical trials make this possible. For example, most of the advances in cancer treatment have happened because of scientific research.2
There are always new clinical trials looking for participants. If you or someone you love is interested in participating in a clinical trial, there are important aspects to consider beforehand. This article will give an overview of clinical trials and tips for finding trials near you.
What Are Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials are research studies that can answer several questions.3 These include:
- Does this new treatment (surgical or medical) work?
- Is this new treatment safe?
- How does this new treatment compare to one already available?
Clinical trials are divided into four phases.4 Usually, when people participate in a clinical trial, they are only involved in one phase. With each phase, the number of participants increases.
People who participate in clinical trials usually do so for various reasons.5 People with or without disease may want to help others have better treatment experiences in the future. They may also want to be involved in scientific progress.
For some people, participation means possible treatment benefits after being diagnosed with a medical condition being studied.6
Importance of Living Near the Clinical Trial
Clinical trials can require a significant time investment from the participant.7 Visits to the study site, frequent blood testing, recurring procedures, and even hospital stays may be necessary. (Even decentralized or “virtual” trials may not be fully virtual, so an in-person component may still be required.) Because of the need to visit the research site possibly numerous times throughout the research study, many prospective participants look for clinical trials near where they live.
Having reliable transportation to the clinical study site can be challenging, especially when frequent visits are needed.7 Travel distance is an obstacle that can prevent people from participating in clinical trials.
People older than 65 are most likely to experience trouble with transportation.8 As a result, older people are underrepresented in clinical research. Greater financial support from the research team for parking or transportation would likely lower this barrier.
If you do enroll as a participant in a clinical trial and find that transportation is becoming more of a problem (for example, if you have moved and now live farther away from the site) be sure to let the research site know, because they may have additional resources available to be sure you are able to complete the study. Your continued participation may be vital for the success of the study.
Finding Clinical Trials Near You
On a site such as TrialSearch.com, you can get connected with clinical trials that fit your profile, including any health condition you may have, your demographics, and your location.