What you should know about medical research studies

What is a medical research study?

A medical research study, also known as a clinical trial, is a carefully designed study in which participants are asked to participate in an investigational therapy under the supervision of a doctor and other research professionals.

Medical research studies must be approved by an institutional review board (IRB) or ethics committee (EC). An IRB or EC is a group that is responsible for helping to protect the rights and welfare of study participants. In addition, every study participant is monitored with medical tests and study-related exams before, during, and sometimes even after the study.

What should I expect?

Before you participate in a medical research study, a detailed description of the study, as well as possible risks and benefits, will be provided in writing in an “informed consent document” and discussed with you. You will be asked to review and sign the informed consent document prior to participating. Your medical history will be reviewed, and you will be given a study-related physical exam and laboratory tests.

If you qualify, you will be enrolled in the medical research study. Once enrolled, feel free to discuss your research care with the study physician or study site staff members at any time during the course of the study. Information collected during a medical research study may or may not ultimately lead to the investigational therapy being approved by the FDA or other regulatory health authorities, and may support the future development of new drugs and therapies.

It is important for you to:

  • Attend all scheduled visits
  • Describe your physical state, feelings, and well-being accurately and honestly to the study physician
  • Discuss any questions regarding the study with the study physician

As a study participant, you will have the right to contact the study’s IRB or EC representative regarding your rights as a research participant. You will also have the right to leave the study at any time.

See If You May Qualify