Clinical Trial Basics

What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are scientific studies that investigate whether a potential drug or treatment is safe and effective in treating a particular medical condition. Successful results from clinical trials are required in order for any new medical treatment or procedure to be approved for use in the U.S.

In a clinical trial, participants receive specific interventions according to the research plan or protocol created by the investigators. The investigators (usually medical doctors) will measure specific outcomes in the people participating in the study to determine whether the new drug or treatment is helpful, harmful, or no different than other available options.

Who Can Participate in a Clinical Study?

Clinical trials have strict criteria that define who can and who cannot participate in the study. These eligibility criteria may be based on things like age, the type and stage of a disease, previous treatment history, and other illnesses that a participant may have. In order to be included in a clinical study, a person must volunteer to participate and must understand what is being tested and the potential risks and benefits of participation. Participants may leave a study at any time.

Why Is It Important to Consider a Clinical Trial?

Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly using molecular information to develop new drugs that target particular cellular pathways. For some patients, these investigational agents may be the best available option, particularly if the drugs being tested are matched to their tumor molecular profile. Since eligibility requirements limit participation based on factors like tumor stage, time since diagnosis or recurrence, and treatment history, it’s important to look for clinical trials as soon as a patient has a recurrence and to be aware of these opportunities as soon as she is diagnosed with cancer.

The more women that take part in clinical trials for ovarian cancer, the faster we can find better treatments for everyone.Find a clinical trial.