How to find research studies near you and frequently asked questions about participating in a clinical trial

Clinical research studies around the country are looking for volunteers. Find one that may be a fit for you quickly and easily by answering a few short questions about your location and medical history.

Below, you’ll find some of the most common disease areas that are currently looking for volunteers. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you can also search for trials for your condition in your area using Antidote’s clinical trial Match tool:

Frequently asked questions about joining research studies

Before you decide to join a clinical trial, you may have some questions. Below, we share some of the most frequently asked questions we get about joining clinical trials and research studies.

What is the goal of a clinical research study? Research studies and clinical trials evaluate potential new treatments for safety and effectiveness. Without volunteers, new medications can’t be approved by the FDA, and therefore can’t reach patients. 

What are the potential benefits of joining a research study? In addition to gaining access to a new potential treatment, other benefits include receiving care at a top facility, helping science, and potentially making an impact on everyone living with your condition. Sometimes, studies offer compensation for your participation, and often there is reimbursement for costs like travel.

Are there risks associated with participating? The goal of a clinical trial is to investigate whether a potential new medication is both safe and effective. When you participate in a trial, there is a risk that the treatment won’t be effective, that it won’t work for you, or that there will be side effects.

Do all clinical trials use placebos? Not all clinical trials use placebos. Some trials measure the effectiveness of a standard treatment against a potential new medication. In some studies that do use placebos, if the study drug is found to be effective, everyone receives it.

What do the phases of clinical trials mean? Before a new medication can reach patients, it has to clear four clinical trial phases. The typical clinical trials timeline looks like this:

  • Phase I: These trials usually enroll 20 to 100 healthy volunteers or people with the condition being studied, and last several months. This phase measures safety by testing for any adverse side effects of the treatment, but not necessarily how effective the drug or device is. 
  • Phase II: Around 70% of potential new drugs enter Phase 2, which continues to measure safety, while also looking at how effective the treatment is and carefully investigating its side effects. Phase 2 trials recruit up to several hundred patients with the condition to take part. This phase typically lasts several months to two years.
  • Phase III: Only 33% of drugs make it to Phase 3, which tests the potential treatment in the largest number of people. This phase measures both safety and effectiveness with many volunteers, sometimes thousands. Phase 3 trials last from one to four years.
  • FDA approval: After Phase 3, a pharmaceutical company may submit a New Drug Application (NDA) or a biologics license application (BLA) for the treatment to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA then reviews results from all stages of the trial to determine whether it will approve the drug and allow the pharmaceutical company to begin marketing it to the public.
  • Phase 4: This phase is often called “Post-Approval Research and Monitoring.” After a new treatment is approved by the FDA, the pharmaceutical or device company may want to continue monitoring patients to learn more about the treatment’s longer-term effects, while comparing it against other already-approved options. It may take time for long-term side effects to appear, making this an important phase.

What protections are in place for trial volunteers? There are several protections in place to make sure clinical trials are safe for participants. To start, an Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews the protocol of every trial to make sure it’s ethical and that patient rights are protected. In addition, the FDA provides oversight for clinical trials testing new medicines or medical devices. Before human trials start, the FDA reviews applications for new medications and makes sure studies have protections in place for participants. The informed consent form is one of the most important pieces of a trial that protects patients. When participants agree to join a clinical trial, they sign an informed consent form, which outlines all relevant details about the trial. The study team will also answer any questions participants have about the trial. Informed consent is not a contract, and if you feel the trial is not right for you, you may withdraw from it at any time. 

Ready to start searching for a trial in your area? Click below to answer a few questions and get started.