Why Should I Participate?
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Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease.

Treatments might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments.

The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Clinical trials can also look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.

People participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Healthy volunteers say they participate to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. Participants with an illness or disease also participate to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have the additional care and attention from the clinical trial staff.

It is important to test drugs and medical products in the people they are meant to help. It is also important to conduct research in a variety of people because different people may respond differently to treatments. FDA seeks to ensure that people of different ages, races, ethnic groups, and genders are included in clinical trials.

Some people participate in clinical trials because they have exhausted standard (approved) treatment options – which either did not work for them, or they were unable to tolerate certain side effects. Clinical trials may provide another option when standard therapy has failed.

Other people participate in trials because the want to contribute to the advancement of medical knowledge.

For each clinical trial, researchers develop eligibility criteria, such as the age, sex, type and stage of disease, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions. These criteria help to reduce the amount of variation in the study, without threatening the scientific integrity of the trial, by removing medical variations that might complicate analyzing the results.

Not everyone who applies for a clinical trial will be accepted. Volunteers may be excluded based on the eligibility criteria and/or the number of participants needed by the researchers to collect enough information to determine the safety and effectiveness of a therapeutic agent.

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