Clinical Trials Information for Patients and Caregivers

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Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. Understanding what they are can help you decide if a clinical trial might be an option for you. Or maybe you have a friend or family member with cancer and are wondering if a clinical trial is right for them.

We’ve provided basic information about clinical trials to help you understand what’s involved in taking part. This includes information about the benefits and risks, who is responsible for which research costs, and how your safety is protected. Learning all you can about clinical trials can help you talk with your doctor and make a decision that is right for you.

We also have a tool to help you find clinical trials. NCI-supported trials are offered at locations across the United States and Canada, including the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. For more information on trials at the Clinical Center, see NCI Center for Cancer Research and Developmental Therapeutics Clinic.

What Are Clinical Trials?

Information covering the basics of cancer clinical trials, including what they are, where they take place, and the types of clinical trials. Also, explains phases, randomization, placebo, and members of the research team.

Paying for Clinical Trials

Information about who is expected to pay for which costs in a cancer clinical trial, as well as tips for working with insurance companies.

Patient Safety in Clinical Trials

There are federal rules in place to help protect the rights and safety of people who take part in clinical trials. Learn about informed consent, institutional review boards (IRB's), and how trials are closely monitored.

Deciding to Take Part

Like all treatment options, clinical trials have possible benefits and risks. Find information you can use when making your decision about whether taking part in a trial is right for you.

Questions to Ask about Treatment Clinical Trials

If you are thinking about taking part in a clinical trial, be sure to ask your doctor if there is a trial you can join. If your doctor offers you a trial, here are some questions you may want to ask.

Selected NCI-Supported Trials

This page describes some of the major clinical trials that NCI supports to test promising cancer treatments and screening methods.