Clinical trials are usually carried out by a team of researchers, which may include doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals. The team is led by a principal investigator, who is usually a medical doctor. The clinical trials are usually funded by academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies, or national agencies such as the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) in Canada, or the National Institutes of Health in the United States.
Each clinical trial has a set of eligibility criteria that outline who can participate. These criteria are part of the study protocol. Some studies seek participants who have illnesses or conditions to be studied, whereas others are looking for healthy participants.
Study participants are protected by a process called informed consent, used by the study team to provide the potential study participant sufficient information about the study’s potential benefits, risks, and alternatives. The study team will assess study participants’ understanding of the study and provide more information to participants during discussions. Study participants sign a document before joining the study, to show that they understand the study information and consent to being part of the study. Study participants are also free to withdraw from a study at any time.
Clinical trials are conducted to increase medical knowledge. Conducting these studies give researchers insight about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases or conditions that can make a difference in the future care of patients. In addition, some clinical trials may provide study participants with the prospect of receiving direct medical benefits.Can I Take Part?