Clinical trials present patients and participants the opportunity to not only contribute to medical research that helps spur the development of new drugs, devices, or procedures—but also to play a more active role in their health care and access new treatments before they are widely available.
Who can participate?
All clinical trials have guidelines about who can and cannot participate. By using inclusion/exclusion criteria, ACRO members can ensure reliable results while protecting participant health and safety.
- Inclusion criteria include factors that allow someone to participate in a clinical trial.
- Exclusion criteria include those that would prohibit from someone participating.
These criteria are based on a variety of factors, including:
- Type and stage of a disease
- Previous medical or treatment history
- Other medical conditions
The factors influencing this criteria change depending on the trial and treatment being tested. For example, some research trials may need participants with a specific illness while others seek healthy participants.
The inclusion/exclusion criteria ensure only qualified participants are accepted for clinical research, protecting their health and safety.
What happens during a clinical trial?
While the clinical trials vary depending on the kind of trial being conducted, the clinical trial team generally includes doctors and nurses as well as social workers and other health care professionals who:
- Check the health of the participant at the beginning of the trial
- Give specific instructions for participating in the trial
- Monitor the participant carefully during the trial
- Stay in touch after the trial is completed
Clinical trial participation is most successful when protocol is followed carefully and there is frequent contact with the research staff.