Clinical Trials – FAQs

Clinical Trials at EmoryAt Emory Healthcare, we are proud to sponsor clinical trials and offer the opportunity for our patients to participate in them. Currently there are more than 1,000 clinical trials offered throughout our health care system. As one of the nation’s leading academic medical systems, our involvement in clinical trials sets us apart from other health care organizations. Access to advanced resources and technology allows our care team to provide patients with the most effective and progressive treatments. It’s only once these treatments are approved that they’re made available elsewhere.

Medical advances and improvements to patient care have been made possible by clinical trials and the participation of volunteers. Below are answers to frequently asked questions you may have about clinical trials.

Q. What is a clinical trial?

A. A clinical trial is a form of research that uses human volunteers (called participants) to help answer specific questions about new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases. Clinical trials are extremely important because they allow researchers to work with patients suffering from the exact condition they are trying to treat.

Q. What types of clinical trials are available at Emory?

A. There are several forms of clinical trials. Some trials test new drugs, procedures or other treatments, and others look for better ways to prevent diseases in people who have either never had a disease or are trying to keep one from coming back. Some trials are used to develop better ways to diagnose a particular disease or condition while other trials help find ways to improve the care and quality of life of people with long-term illnesses.

Q. What do the different phases of trials mean?

A. Clinical trials take place in “phases,” and each phase helps researchers answer specific questions.

Phase I Clinical Trials: These trials are used to test brand new drugs, devices or procedures to find out how safe they are and identify possible side effects. They usually involve 20 to 80 people.

Phase II Clinical Trials: These trials are used to further evaluate the effectiveness and safety of a drug, device or procedure. The researchers keep track of any medical benefits, as well as side effects. They usually involve 100 to 300 people.

Phase III Clinical Trials: These trials compare a new treatment or procedure with a standard old treatment or procedure to figure out which works best. Evaluation of side effects and effectiveness continues. They usually involve 1,000 to 8,000 people.

Phase IV Clinical Trials: Once a drug or procedure is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and made available to the public, researchers continue to study its safety to figure out the best use of the new treatment.

Q. Who can participate in clinical trials?

A. Both people in good health and people with certain diseases or conditions participate in clinical trials. People participate in trials to help researchers find better treatments, or to receive care or treatment only available as part of a clinical trial.

Q. How does clinical research make a difference?

A. Clinical research helps us learn about the safety and effectiveness of all drugs, procedures and other
treatments. Medical advances like new drugs and surgical procedures are made possible because of clinical trials and the voluntary participation of individuals.

At Emory, we’re conducting clinical trials and research to make a difference in people’s lives, here and now and for generations to come. While there are many benefits to participating in clinical trials, there can also be risks, which is why it is important to speak with a physician before deciding to participate. For more information on clinical trials at Emory, please view a complete list of our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have additional questions, visit our clinical trials website or call 404-778-7777.

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