MOST Frequently Asked Question In Clinical research Interview
- What is a clinical trial?
These are biomedical or health-related research studies in human beings that follow a pre-defined protocol.
There are interventional and observational types of studies. Interventional studies are those in which the research subjects are assigned by the principal investigator to a treatment or other intervention, and their outcomes are measured. Observational studies are those in which individuals are just observed and their outcomes are measured by the investigators.
- Why anyone participate in a clinical trial?
Participants in clinical trials can play a more precise role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available in market, and help others by contributing to medical research.
- Who can participate in a clinical trial?
All clinical trials have protocol and guidelines about who can participate. Using inclusion/exclusion criteria is an important principle of medical research that helps to produce reliable results. The factors that allow someone to participate in a clinical trial are called “inclusion criteria” and those that disallow someone from participating are called “exclusion criteria”. These criteria are based on such factors like age, gender, the type and stage of a disease, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions. Before joining a clinical trial, a participant must qualify for the study. Some research studies seek participants with illnesses or conditions to be studied in the clinical trial, while others need healthy participants. It is important to note that inclusion and exclusion criteria are not used to reject people personally. Instead, the criteria are used to identify appropriate participants and keep them safe.
The clinical trial process depends on the kind of trial being conducted. The clinical trial team includes doctors and nurses as well as social workers and other health care professionals. They check the health of the participant at the start of the trial, give specific instructions for participating in the trial, monitor the participant carefully during the trial, and stay in touch after the trial is completed.
Some clinical trials involve more tests and doctor visits than the participant would normally have for an illness or condition. For all types of trials, the participant works with a research team. Clinical trial participation is most successful when the protocol is carefully followed and there is frequent contact with the research staff.
- What is informed consent?
Informed consent is the process of learning the important facts about a clinical trial before deciding whether or not to participate. It is also a continuing process throughout the study to provide information for participants. To help someone decide whether or not to participate, the doctors and nurses involved in the trial explain the details of the study. If the participant’s native language is not English, translation assistance can be provided. Then the research team provides an informed consent document that includes details about the study, such as its purpose, duration, required procedures, and key contacts. Risks and potential benefits are explained in the informed consent document. The participant then decides whether or not to sign the document. Informed consent is not a contract, and the participant may withdraw from the trial at any time.
5.What are the benefits and risks of participating in a clinical trial?
- Clinical trials that are well-designed and well-executed are the best approach for eligible participants to:
- Play an active role in their own health care.
- Gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available.
- Obtain expert medical care at leading health care facilities during the trial.
- Help others by contributing to medical research
- There are risks to clinical trials.
- There may be unpleasant, serious or even life-threatening side effects to experimental treatment.
- The experimental treatment may not be effective for the participant.
- The protocol may require more of their time and attention than would a non-protocol treatment, including trips to the study site, more treatments, hospital stays or complex dosage requirements.
- What are side effects and adverse reactions?
- Side effects are any undesired actions or effects of the experimental drug or treatment. Negative or adverse effects may include headache, nausea, hair loss, skin irritation, or other physical problems. Experimental treatments must be evaluated for both immediate and long-term side effects.
A.How is the safety of the participant protected?
The ethical and legal codes that govern medical practice also apply to clinical trials. In addition, most clinical research is federally regulated with built in safeguards to protect the participants. The trial follows a carefully controlled protocol, a study plan which details what researchers will do in the study. As a clinical trial progresses, researchers report the results of the trial at scientific meetings, to medical journals, and to various government agencies. Individual participants’ names will remain secret and will not be mentioned in these reports (See Confidentiality Regarding Trial Participants).
- What should people consider before participating in a trial?
People should know as much as possible about the clinical trial and feel comfortable asking the members of the health care team questions about it, the care expected while in a trial, and the cost of the trial. The following questions might be helpful for the participant to discuss with the health care team. Some of the answers to these questions are found in the informed consent document.
- What is the purpose of the study?
- Who is going to be in the study?
- Why do researchers believe the experimental treatment being tested may be effective? Has it been tested before?
- What kinds of tests and experimental treatments are involved?
- How do the possible risks, side effects, and benefits in the study compare with my current treatment?
- How might this trial affect my daily life?
- How long will the trial last?
- Will hospitalization be required?
- Who will pay for the experimental treatment?
- Will I be reimbursed for other expenses?
- What type of long-term follow up care is part of this study?
- How will I know that the experimental treatment is working? Will results of the trials be provided to me?
- Who will be in charge of my care?
- What kind of preparation should a potential participant make for the meeting with the research coordinator or doctor?
Plan ahead and write down possible questions to ask.
Ask a friend or relative to come along for support and to hear the responses to the questions.
Bring a tape recorder to record the discussion to replay later.
Every clinical trial in the U.S. must be approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to make sure the risks are as low as possible and are worth any potential benefits. An IRB is an independent committee of physicians, statisticians, community advocates, and others that ensures that a clinical trial is ethical and the rights of study participants are protected. All institutions that conduct or support biomedical research involving people must, by federal regulation, have an IRB that initially approves and periodically reviews the research.
A.Does a participant continue to work with a primary health care provider while in a trial?
Yes. Most clinical trials provide short-term treatments related to a designated illness or condition, but do not provide extended or complete primary health care. In addition, by having the health care provider work with the research team, the participant can ensure that other medications or treatments will not conflict with the protocol.
B.Can a participant leave a clinical trial after it has begun?
Yes. A participant can leave a clinical trial, at any time. When withdrawing from the trial, the participant should let the research team know about it, and the reasons for leaving the study.
C.Where do the ideas for trials come from?
Ideas for clinical trials usually come from researchers. After researchers test new therapies or procedures in the laboratory and in animal studies, the experimental treatments with the most promising laboratory results are moved into clinical trials. During a trial, more and more information is gained about an experimental treatment, its risks and how well it may or may not work.
- Who sponsors clinical trials?
Clinical trials are sponsored or funded by a variety of organizations or individuals such as physicians, medical institutions, foundations, voluntary groups, and pharmaceutical companies, in addition to federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). Trials can take place in a variety of locations, such as hospitals, universities, doctors’ offices, or community clinics.
- What is a protocol?
A protocol is a study plan on which all clinical trials are based. The plan is carefully designed to safeguard the health of the participants as well as answer specific research questions. A protocol describes what types of people may participate in the trial; the schedule of tests, procedures, medications, and dosages; and the length of the study. While in a clinical trial, participants following a protocol are seen regularly by the research staff to monitor their health and to determine the safety and effectiveness of their treatment.
- What is a placebo?
A placebo is an inactive pill, liquid, or powder that has no treatment value. In clinical trials, experimental treatments are often compared with placebos to assess the experimental treatment’s effectiveness. In some studies, the participants in the control group will receive a placebo instead of an active drug or experimental treatment.
- What is a control or control group?
A control is the standard by which experimental observations are evaluated. In many clinical trials, one group of patients will be given an experimental drug or treatment, while the control group is given either a standard treatment for the illness or a placebo.
- What are the different types of clinical trials?
Treatment trials test experimental treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy.
- i) Prevention trials look for better ways to prevent disease in people who have never had the disease or to prevent a disease from returning. These approaches may include medicines, vaccines, vitamins, minerals, or lifestyle changes.
- ii) Diagnostic trials are conducted to find better tests or procedures for diagnosing a particular disease or condition.
iii) Screening trials test the best way to detect certain diseases or health conditions.
- iv) Quality of Life trials (or Supportive Care trials) explore ways to improve comfort and the quality of life for individuals with a chronic illness.
- What are the phases of clinical trials?
Clinical trials are conducted in phases. The trials at each phase have a different purpose and help scientists answer different questions:
In Phase I trials, researchers test an experimental drug or treatment in a small group of people (20-80) for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects.
In Phase II trials, the experimental study drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people (100-300) to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety.
In Phase III trials, the experimental study drug or treatment is given to large groups of people (1,000-3,000) to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the experimental drug or treatment to be used safely.
In Phase IV trials, post marketing studies delineate additional information including the drug’s risks, benefits, and optimal use.
- What is “expanded access”?
Expanded access is a means by which manufacturers make investigational new drugs available, under certain circumstances, to treat a patient(s) with a serious disease or condition who cannot participate in a controlled clinical trial.
Most human use of investigational new drugs takes place in controlled clinical trials conducted to assess the safety and efficacy of new drugs. Data from these trials are used to determine whether a drug is safe and effective, and serve as the basis for the drug marketing application. Sometimes, patients do not qualify for these controlled trials because of other health problems, age, or other factors, or are otherwise unable to enroll in such trials (e.g., a patient may not live sufficiently close to a clinical trial site).
For patients who cannot participate in a clinical trial of an investigational drug, but have a serious disease or condition that may benefit from treatment with the drug, FDA regulations enable manufacturers of such drugs to provide those patients access to the drug under certain situations, known as “expanded access.” For example, the drug cannot expose patients to unreasonable risks given the severity of the disease to be treated and the patient does not have any other satisfactory therapeutic options (e.g., an approved drug that could be used to treat the patient’s disease or condition). The manufacturer must be willing to make the drug available for expanded access use. The primary intent of expanded access is to provide treatment for a patient’s disease or condition, rather than to collect data about the study drug.
Some investigational drugs are available for treatment use from pharmaceutical manufacturers through expanded access programs listed in ClinicalTrials.gov. If you or a loved one is interested in treatment with an investigational drug under an expanded access protocol listed in ClinicalTrials.gov, review the protocol eligibility criteria and inquire at the Contact Information number. If there is not an expanded access protocol listed in ClinicalTrials.gov, you or your health care provider may contact a manufacturer of an investigational drug directly to ask about expanded access programs.
- What are the benefits and risks of a clinical trial?
Clinical trials involve risks, just as routine medical care and the activities of daily living do. When weighing the risks of research, you can consider two important factors:
- i) The chance of any harm occurring, and
- ii) The degree of harm that could result from participating in the study
Most clinical studies pose the risk of minor discomfort, which lasts only a short time. However, some study participants experience complications that require medical attention. In rare cases, participants have been seriously injured or have died of complications resulting from their participation in trials of experimental therapies. The specific risks associated with a research protocol are described in detail in the informed consent document, which participants are asked to read and sign before participating in research. Also, a member of the research team explains the major risks of participating in a study and will answer any questions you have about the study. Before deciding to participate, carefully consider possible risks and benefits.
- Well-designed and well-executed clinical trials provide the best approach for participants to:
- Play an active role in their health care
- Gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available
- Receive regular and careful medical attention from a research team that includes doctors and other health professionals
- Help others by contributing to medical research
Risks to participating in clinical trials include the following:
- There may be unpleasant, serious, or even life-threatening side effects to experimental treatment.
- The study may require more time and attention than standard treatment would, including visits to the study site, more blood tests, more treatments, hospital stays, or complex dosage requirements.
16.If I choose to take part in a clinical trial, how will my safety be protected?
The goal of clinical research is to develop knowledge that improves human health or increases understanding of human biology. People who participate in clinical research make it possible for this to occur. The path to finding out if a new drug is safe or effective is to test it on patient volunteers. By placing some people at risk of harm for the good of others, clinical research has the potential to exploit patient volunteers. The purpose of ethical guidelines is both to protect patient volunteers and to preserve the integrity of the science. Ethical guidelines in place today were primarily a response to past research abuses.
Informed consent is the process of learning the key facts about a clinical trial before deciding whether to participate. The process of providing information to participants continues throughout the study. To help someone decide whether to participate, members of the research team explain the details of the study. The research team provides an informed consent document, which includes such details about the study, as its purpose, duration, required procedures, and whom to contact for various purposes. The informed consent document also explains risks and potential benefits.
If the participant decides to enroll in the trial, the informed consent document will be signed. Informed consent is not a contract. Volunteers are free to withdraw from the study at any time.
Most, but not all, clinical trials in the United States are approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) in order to ensure that the risks are minimal and are worth any potential benefits. An IRB is an independent committee that consists of physicians, statisticians, and members of the community who ensure that clinical trials are ethical and that the rights of participants are protected. Potential research participants should ask the sponsor or research coordinator whether the research they are considering participating in was reviewed by an IRB.
- What questions should I ask before deciding if I want to take part in a clinical trial?
If you are offered a clinical trial, feel free to ask any questions or bring up any issues concerning the trial at any time. The following suggestions may give you some ideas as you think about your own questions.
- What is the purpose of the study?
- Why do researchers think the approach may be effective?
- Who will fund the study?
- Who has reviewed and approved the study?
- How are study results and safety of participants being checked?
- How long will the study last?
- What will my responsibilities be if I participate?
- Possible Risks and Benefits
- What are my possible short-term benefits?
- What are my possible long-term benefits?
- What are my short-term risks, such as side effects?
- What are my possible long-term risks?
- What other options do people with my disease have?
- How do the possible risks and benefits of this trial compare with those options?
- Participation and Care
- What kinds of therapies, procedures, and/or tests will I have during the trial?
- Will they hurt, and if so, for how long?
- How do the tests in the study compare with those I would have outside of the trial?
- Will I be able to take my regular medications while participating in the clinical trial?
- Where will I have my medical care?
- Who will be in charge of my care?
- How could being in this study affect my daily life?
- Can I talk to other people in the study?
- Cost Issues
- Will I have to pay for any part of the trial, such as tests or the study drug?
- If so, what will the charges likely be?
- What is my health insurance likely to cover?
- Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company or health plan?
- Will there be any travel or child care costs that I need to consider while I am in the trial?
- What is the difference between Single blind and double blind studies?
Blinding is designed to prevent participants and the research team from influencing the trial results and to allow for the most scientifically accurate conclusions. In single-blind studies, the participant does not know what treatment they are given but the research team is informed. In a double-blind study, neither the participant nor the research staff know what treatment is given to each set of participants. The treatments are made to look the same as each other so that participants and research staff cannot tell the difference. If medically necessary, however, it is always possible to find out which treatment the patient in a clinical trial is taking.
- What are the important glossary part need to be remember in Clinical Research
- ADVERSE REACTION: (Adverse Event.) An unwanted effect caused by the administration of drugs. Onset may be sudden or develop over time.
- ADVOCACY AND SUPPORT GROUPS: Organizations and groups that actively support participants and their families with valuable resources, including self-empowerment and survival tools.
- APPROVED DRUGS: In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve a substance as a drug before it can be marketed. The approval process involves several steps including pre-clinical laboratory and animal studies, clinical trials for safety and efficacy, filing of a New Drug Application by the manufacturer of the drug, FDA review of the application, and FDA approval/rejection of application.
- ARM: Any of the treatment groups in a randomized trial. Most randomized trials have two “arms,” but some have three “arms,” or even more.
- BASELINE: 1. Information gathered at the beginning of a study from which variations found in the study are measured. 2. A known value or quantity with which an unknown is compared when measured or assessed. 3. The initial time point in a clinical trial, just before a participant starts to receive the experimental treatment which is being tested. At this reference point, measurable values such as CD4 count are recorded. Safety and efficacy of a drug are often determined by monitoring changes from the baseline values.
- BIAS: When a point of view prevents impartial judgment on issues relating to the subject of that point of view. In clinical studies, bias is controlled by blinding and randomization.
- BLIND: A randomized trial is “Blind” if the participant is not told which arm of the trial he is on. A clinical trial is “Blind” if participants are unaware on whether they are in the experimental or control arm of the study; also called masked.
- CLINICAL: Pertaining to or founded on observation and treatment of participants, as distinguished from theoretical or basic science.
- CLINICAL INVESTIGATOR: A medical researcher in charge of carrying out a clinical trial’s protocol.
- CLINICAL TRIAL: A clinical trial is a research study to answer specific questions about vaccines or new therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials (also called medical research and research studies) are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work in people. Trials are in four phases: Phase I tests a new drug or treatment in a small group; Phase II expands the study to a larger group of people; Phase III expands the study to an even larger group of people; and Phase IV takes place after the drug or treatment has been licensed and marketed.
- COHORT: In epidemiology, a group of individuals with some characteristics in common.
- COMMUNITY-BASED CLINICAL TRIAL (CBCT): A clinical trial conducted primarily through primary-care physicians rather than academic research facilities.
- COMPASSIONATE USE: A method of providing experimental therapeutics prior to final FDA approval for use in humans. This procedure is used with very sick individuals who have no other treatment options. Often, case-by-case approval must be obtained from the FDA for “compassionate use” of a drug or therapy.
- COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPY: Broad range of healing philosophies, approaches, and therapies that Western (conventional) medicine does not commonly use to promote well-being or treat health conditions. Examples include acupuncture, herbs, etc.
- CONFIDENTIALITY REGARDING TRIAL PARTICIPANTS: Refers to maintaining the confidentiality of trial participants including their personal identity and all personal medical information. The trial participants’ consent to the use of records for data verification purposes should be obtained prior to the trial and assurance must be given that confidentiality will be maintained.
- CONTRAINDICATION: A specific circumstance when the use of certain treatments could be harmful.
- CONTROL: A control is the nature of the intervention control.
- CONTROL GROUP: The standard by which experimental observations are evaluated. In many clinical trials, one group of patients will be given an experimental drug or treatment, while the control group is given either a standard treatment for the illness or a placebo.
- CONTROLLED TRIALS: Control is a standard against which experimental observations may be evaluated. In clinical trials, one group of participants is given an experimental drug, while another group (i.e., the control group) is given either a standard treatment for the disease or a placebo.
- DATA SAFETY AND MONITORING BOARD (DSMB): An independent committee, composed of community representatives and clinical research experts, that reviews data while a clinical trial is in progress to ensure that participants are not exposed to undue risk. A DSMB may recommend that a trial be stopped if there are safety concerns or if the trial objectives have been achieved.
- DIAGNOSTIC TRIALS: Refers to trials that are conducted to find better tests or procedures for diagnosing a particular disease or condition. Diagnostic trials usually include people who have signs or symptoms of the disease or condition being studied.
- DOSE-RANGING STUDY: A clinical trial in which two or more doses of an agent (such as a drug) are tested against each other to determine which dose works best and is least harmful.
- DOUBLE-BLIND STUDY: A clinical trial design in which neither the participating individuals nor the study staff knows which participants are receiving the experimental drug and which are receiving a placebo (or another therapy). Double-blind trials are thought to produce objective results, since the expectations of the doctor and the participant about the experimental drug do not affect the outcome; also called double-masked study.
- DRUG-DRUG INTERACTION: A modification of the effect of a drug when administered with another drug. The effect may be an increase or a decrease in the action of either substance, or it may be an adverse effect that is not normally associated with either drug.
- EFFICACY: (Of a drug or treatment). The maximum ability of a drug or treatment to produce a result regardless of dosage. A drug passes efficacy trials if it is effective at the dose tested and against the illness for which it is prescribed. In the procedure mandated by the FDA, Phase II clinical trials gauge efficacy, and Phase III trials confirm
- ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Summary criteria for participant selection; includes Inclusion and Exclusion criteria.
- EMPIRICAL: Based on experimental data, not on a theory.
- ENDPOINT: Overall outcome that the protocol is designed to evaluate. Common endpoints are severe toxicity, disease progression, or death.
- ENROLLING: The act of signing up participants into a study. Generally this process involves evaluating a participant with respect to the eligibility criteria of the study and going through the informed consent process.
- EPIDEMIOLOGY: The branch of medical science that deals with the study of incidence and distribution and control of a disease in a population.
- EXPANDED ACCESS: Refers to any of the FDA procedures, such as compassionate use, parallel track, and treatment IND that distribute experimental drugs to participants who are failing on currently available treatments for their condition and also are unable to participate in ongoing clinical trials.
- EXPERIMENTAL DRUG: A drug that is not FDA licensed for use in humans, or as a treatment for a particular condition (See Off-Label Use).
- FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA): The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency responsible for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of all drugs, biologics, vaccines, and medical devices, including those used in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of HIV infection, AIDS, and AIDS-related opportunistic infections. The FDA also works with the blood banking industry to safeguard the nation’s blood supply.
- HYPOTHESIS: A supposition or assumption advanced as a basis for reasoning or argument, or as a guide to experimental investigation.
- INCLUSION/EXCLUSION CRITERIA: The medical or social standards determining whether a person may or may not be allowed to enter a clinical trial. These criteria are based on such factors as age, gender, the type and stage of a disease, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions. It is important to note that inclusion and exclusion criteria are not used to reject people personally, but rather to identify appropriate participants and keep them safe.
- INFORMED CONSENT: The process of learning the key facts about a clinical trial before deciding whether or not to participate. It is also a continuing process throughout the study to provide information for participants. To help someone decide whether or not to participate, the doctors and nurses involved in the trial explain the details of the study.
- INFORMED CONSENT DOCUMENT: A document that describes the rights of the study participants, and includes details about the study, such as its purpose, duration, required procedures, and key contacts. Risks and potential benefits are explained in the informed consent document. The participant then decides whether or not to sign the document. Informed consent is not a contract, and the participant may withdraw from the trial at any time.
- INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD (IRB): 1. A committee of physicians, statisticians, researchers, community advocates, and others that ensures that a clinical trial is ethical and that the rights of study participants are protected. All clinical trials in the U.S. must be approved by an IRB before they begin. 2. Every institution that conducts or supports biomedical or behavioral research involving human participants must, by federal regulation, have an IRB that initially approves and periodically reviews the research in order to protect the rights of human participants.
- INTENT TO TREAT: Analysis of clinical trial results that includes all data from participants in the groups to which they were randomized (See Randomization) even if they never received the treatment.
- INTERVENTION NAME: The generic name of the precise intervention being studied.
- INTERVENTIONS: Primary interventions being studied: types of interventions are Drug, Gene Transfer, Vaccine, Behavior, Device, or Procedure.
- INVESTIGATIONAL NEW DRUG: A new drug, antibiotic drug, or biological drug that is used in a clinical investigation. It also includes a biological product used in vitro for diagnostic purposes.
- MASKED: The knowledge of intervention assignment.
- NATURAL HISTORY STUDY: Study of the natural development of something (such as an organism or a disease) over a period of time.
- NEW DRUG APPLICATION (NDA): An application submitted by the manufacturer of a drug to the FDA – after clinical trials have been completed – for a license to market the drug for a specified indication.
- OFF-LABEL USE: A drug prescribed for conditions other than those approved by the FDA.
- OPEN-LABEL TRIAL: A clinical trial in which doctors and participants know which drug or vaccine is being administered.
- ORPHAN DRUGS: An FDA category that refers to medications used to treat diseases and conditions that occur rarely. There is little financial incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to develop medications for these diseases or conditions. Orphan drug status, however, gives a manufacturer specific financial incentives to develop and provide such medications.
- PEER REVIEW: Review of a clinical trial by experts chosen by the study sponsor. These experts review the trials for scientific merit, participant safety, and ethical considerations.
- PHARMACOKINETICS: The processes (in a living organism) of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of a drug or vaccine.
- PLACEBO: A placebo is an inactive pill, liquid, or powder that has no treatment value. In clinical trials, experimental treatments are often compared with placebos to assess the treatment’s effectiveness. (See Placebo Controlled Study).
- PLACEBO CONTROLLED STUDY: A method of investigation of drugs in which an inactive substance (the placebo) is given to one group of participants, while the drug being tested is given to another group. The results obtained in the two groups are then compared to see if the investigational treatment is more effective in treating the condition.
- PLACEBO EFFECT: A physical or emotional change, occurring after a substance is taken or administered, that is not the result of any special property of the substance. The change may be beneficial, reflecting the expectations of the participant and, often, the expectations of the person giving the substance.
- PRECLINICAL: Refers to the testing of experimental drugs in the test tube or in animals – the testing that occurs before trials in humans may be carried out.
- PREVENTION TRIALS: Refers to trials to find better ways to prevent disease in people who have never had the disease or to prevent a disease from returning. These approaches may include medicines, vaccines, vitamins, minerals, or lifestyle changes.
- PROTOCOL: A study plan on which all clinical trials are based. The plan is carefully designed to safeguard the health of the participants as well as answer specific research questions. A protocol describes what types of people may participate in the trial; the schedule of tests, procedures, medications, and dosages; and the length of the study. While in a clinical trial, participants following a protocol are seen regularly by the research staff to monitor their health and to determine the safety and effectiveness of their treatment.
- QUALITY OF LIFE TRIALS (or Supportive Care trials): Refers to trials that explore ways to improve comfort and quality of life for individuals with a chronic illness.
- RANDOMIZATION: A method based on chance by which study participants are assigned to a treatment group. Randomization minimizes the differences among groups by equally distributing people with particular characteristics among all the trial arms. The researchers do not know which treatment is better. From what is known at the time, any one of the treatments chosen could be of benefit to the participant (See Arm).
- RANDOMIZED TRIAL: A study in which participants are randomly (i.e., by chance) assigned to one of two or more treatment arms of a clinical trial. Occasionally placebos are utilized.
- RECRUITING: The period during which a trial is attempting to identify and enroll participants. Recruitment activities can include advertising and other ways of soliciting interest from possible participants.
- RECRUITMENT STATUS: Indicates the current stage of a trial, whether it is planned, ongoing, or completed. Possible values include:
- Not yet recruiting: participants are not yet being recruited or enrolled
- Recruiting: participants are currently being recruited and enrolled
- Enrolling by invitation: participants are being (or will be) selected from a predetermined population
- Active, not recruiting: study is ongoing (i.e., patients are being treated or examined), but enrollment has completed
- Completed: the study has concluded normally; participants are no longer being examined or treated (i.e., last patient’s last visit has occurred)
- Suspended: recruiting or enrolling participants has halted prematurely but potentially will resume
- Terminated: recruiting or enrolling participants has halted prematurely and will not resume; participants are no longer being examined or treated
- Withdrawn: study halted prematurely, prior to enrollment of first participant
- RISK-BENEFIT RATIO: The risk to individual participants versus the potential benefits. The risk/benefit ratio may differ depending on the condition being treated.
- SCREENING TRIALS: Refers to trials which test the best way to detect certain diseases or health conditions.
- SIDE EFFECTS: Any undesired actions or effects of a drug or treatment. Negative or adverse effects may include headache, nausea, hair loss, skin irritation, or other physical problems. Experimental drugs must be evaluated for both immediate and long-term side effects
- SINGLE-BLIND STUDY: A study in which one party, either the investigator or participant, is unaware of what medication the participant is taking; also called single-masked study.
- STANDARD TREATMENT: A treatment currently in wide use and approved by the FDA, considered to be effective in the treatment of a specific disease or condition.
- STANDARDS OF CARE: Treatment regimen or medical management based on state of the art participant care.
- STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The probability that an event or difference occurred by chance alone. In clinical trials, the level of statistical significance depends on the number of participants studied and the observations made, as well as the magnitude of differences observed.
- STUDY ENDPOINT: A primary or secondary outcome used to judge the effectiveness of a treatment.
- STUDY TYPE: The primary investigative techniques used in an observational protocol; types are Purpose, Duration, Selection, and Timing.
- TOXICITY: An adverse effect produced by a drug that is detrimental to the participant’s health. The level of toxicity associated with a drug will vary depending on the condition which the drug is used to treat.
- TREATMENT IND: IND stands for Investigational New Drug application, which is part of the process to get approval from the FDA for marketing a new prescription drug in the U.S. It makes promising new drugs available to desperately ill participants as early in the drug development process as possible. Treatment INDs are made available to participants before general marketing begins, typically during Phase III studies. To be considered for a treatment IND a participant cannot be eligible to be in the definitive clinical trial.
- TREATMENT TRIALS: Refers to trials which test new treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy.