Trial Scout

Clinical Research 101

Why choose a clinical trial?

Each year, thousands1 of people choose to participate in clinical research. Here’s what they say motivates them:
  1. Gaining access to treatment that might work better than currently available therapies
  2. Receiving additional study-related medical care for their condition
  3. Advancing medical research and improving patient care

5 Steps to find a clinical trial:


1.     Gather information about your condition

This may include:


Once you understand the basics of your condition, you will be better equipped to make the best decisions for yourself.


2.     Talk to your doctor (health care provider) about clinical research as a care option

While your doctor (HCP) may or may not know which clinical trials are right for you, he or she will be able to talk to you about the role clinical trials can play as a care option.


3.     Use TrialScout to find research centers conducting clinical trials near you

TrialScout is designed to make it as easy as possible for you to find a clinical trial.

  1. Go to the “Find a Clinical Trial” page
  2. Type in your city, state or zip code
  3. Type in your medical condition
  4. Press the “Search” button
  5. Research centers near you that are conducting clinical trials for your condition will be displayed


4.     Contact your research center

After choosing a research center, call, email or visit the research center by using the information provided on TrialScout. If you don’t get a response, feel free to contact us instead. We’ll do our best to get in touch with the research center for you.


5.     Schedule an appointment

The last step in finding a clinical trial that is right for you is scheduling an appointment. During this appointment, the research staff will talk to you about the study and determine whether you are eligible to join.


10 questions to ask about the trial:


  1. What’s the purpose of the trial?
  2. How long will the trial last?
  3. How frequently will I come in for visits?
  4. What are the possible risks and benefits of the trial?
  5. What kinds of tests and treatments are involved?
  6. Will I have to pay for any treatments or tests?
  7. Will the results of the trial be shared with me?
  8. Are there any patients currently in the trial I can talk to?
  9. What happens if I decide to leave the trial?
  10. How does the trial treatment compare to standard treatment options?


Stages of a Clinical Trial

1.     Informed Consent

After you have learned about the purpose of the trial - including the potential risks and benefits - you can choose to join the study. You will sit down with a researcher and discuss the study in detail and then sign a form stating that you understand all the information and agree to participate. You are always able to withdraw your consent and leave the study at any time.


2.     Assignment to a Treatment Group

For some trials, participants are split into groups. Some groups will receive different doses of the drug being tested, and some group may even receive a dummy pill, or placebo. ALL groups are regularly monitored by medical professionals throughout the study. (click here to learn more about placebos). All of these groups are important to research because they help researchers determine how well the new treatment works compared to other care options.


3.     Treatment & Evaluation

During the clinical trial, researchers will do tests and watch for side effects of the new treatment. They will ask you answer questions and sometimes ask you to keep a daily diary to record progress. Researchers also will ask about the lifestyle impact the treatment, such as your ability to engage in day-to-day activities, how your work life is affected, and your overall quality of life.


4.     Results

When the trial ends, the results sometimes are made available to participants who would like them. Researchers often publish the study results to help the work of other scientists.  Not all clinical trials require results to be posted, so be sure to ask when starting a trial if you would like further information to be made available to you.



[1]: Global Participation in Clinical Trials Project. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2016,