What Are Clinical Trials? An Introduction

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Clinical trials give you, the patient, a chance to try a new treatment. By taking part in a trial, you also help us develop new and better ways to treat and care for others around the world. We can also develop methods to prevent disease and manage symptoms.

You may be looking for clinical trial information because:

  • Your doctor recommended a specific trial
  • You want to join a study because a current treatment isn't working
  • Before you begin standard treatment, you want to see what's new 
  • You aren't ill, but want to join a study for healthy people
  • You know someone who's ill and want to see what's available

To join one of our studies, you don't have to be a UVA patient. 

You also don't have to be out of options. You can join a study as part of standard care. 

Need more information? Check our clinical trials FAQs. You can also see our list of clinical trial terminology.

What is a Clinical Trial?

It takes years to develop a new drug, medication, therapy, device, or technique. Researchers perform tests several times, over and over, to see if they work and if they're safe for humans. 

Treatments have to meet certain criteria in order to be given to patients in clinical settings. 

    Helping Research

    When you participate in a clinical trial, it helps researchers find out if a particular drug or therapy is safe and effective. View trials transcript.

    Before You Join a Clinical Study

    Ask your doctor all of your questions. Find out what risks you face, as well as the benefits. 

    Know that:

    • You're aren't a guinea pig; you only have to be in the trial if you want to
    • You can leave the trial whenever you want

    Clinical Trials for Cancer Differ

    In some clinical trials, people don't get the drug being tested. They get a placebo, which doesn't have anything in it. Cancer clinical trials are different. While you might not get the drug the trial is studying, you’ll get the same treatment your doctor would prescribe anyway.

    Learn more about clinical trials. Read:

    ResearchMatch: Connect With Clinical Trials

    ResearchMatch helps connect you with the right clinical trials for you and your family. Researchers use ResearchMatch to find good candidates to participate in their clinical research. Anyone in the U.S. can join. 

    Join ResearchMatch