Most volunteers in clinical trials find out about them through their doctor, but you can also find clinical trials using other approaches.
There are two main ways of finding information on clinical trials.
Clinical Trial Lists
This source will provide names and definitions of available clinical trials testing new treatments.
Along with descriptions, the list will also state patient eligibility criteria and contact information. Some organisations may provide services to help narrow the list for you according to your desired treatment.
Clinical Trial Matching Service
Several organisations have created computer-based systems that match patients to studies they could be eligible for. Clinical trial matching services are usually found online.
Services may differ in how they work. Some services will allow you to search for a clinical trial without registering on their website. Others will require you to register first, but the site will usually confirm that your details and information will remain confidential.
Certain details such as your patient information may be required, so the matching service can locate clinical trials you may be eligible for, which will save you the effort of searching and time wasted reading study descriptions that do not apply to you.
You may also have the opportunity to sign up to a mailing list which will notify you when new studies are available.
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
All research trials have guidelines which dictate who can take part, depending on certain criteria. The factors that qualify you for a research trial are known as inclusion criteria, which could be the right age bracket and certain medical conditions or treatments.
Factors that will exclude you from a clinical trial are known as exclusion criteria. All research trials are approved by independent research ethics committees.
I’m Eligible – Is This Trial Right for Me?
Once you have found the right clinical trial, it is important to find out as much as you can before signing up. For paid research studies, enquire with companies such as trials4us.co.uk.
It is important to discuss the trial with someone involved, such as the clinical or principal investigator who is leading the trial. A research coordinator, usually a nurse, ensures protocol is adhered to and often provides a link between doctors and patients in the study.