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Participate in a clinical trial

What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trial is a research study in which people volunteer to test new drugs or devices. It explores whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. These studies are needed to develop new treatments for serious diseases such as cancer. Clinical trials produce the best data available for health care decision making.

Is a clinical trial safe?

Yes for the most part, because the treatments are thoroughly tested in laboratory trials before they are ever tested to a group of patients. Taking part in a clinical trial can have many benefits. For example, you may gain access to new treatments before they're widely available. If a new treatment is proven to work and you're in the group getting it, you might be among the first to benefit. You also will have the support of a team of health care providers, who will likely monitor your health closely.

Finding a clinical trial

To find a clinical trial, a good first step is to talk with your doctor. Because new clinical trials are created constantly, many people also look in other places to find research studies that they may be interested in joining.

The organizations listed below in alphabetical order offer free, searchable listings of cancer clinical trials. Other organizations that offer such search engines include individual medical/cancer centers, pharmaceutical companies, and patient advocacy organizations.

Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP). CISCRP offers an online clinical trials search engine at In addition, they provide a toll-free number where patients can receive help locating a clinical trial.

CenterWatch. This is a publishing and information services company that offers a list of institutional review board (IRB)-approved clinical trials. This database of publicly and privately supported clinical trials is maintained by the National Library of Medicine at the NIH. It provides information about more than 100,000 studies involving patients that are researching a wide variety of diseases and conditions, including cancer, in all 50 states and more than 150 countries.

Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups. This organization provides resources and information about clinical trials, including the ability to search for clinical trials. Patients can also talk with a specialist to help find a clinical trial.

EmergingMed Navigator. EmergingMed offers a phone and Internet-based service that identifies clinical trial options that match a patient’s specific diagnosis, stage and treatment history. Clinical trial specialists provide telephone support upon request to help connect eligible patients with IRB-approved study sites that are enrolling new participants.

National Cancer Institute (NCI) Clinical Trials: The NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the federal agency that provides funding for most U.S. cancer clinical trials. This comprehensive site provides information on both open and closed cancer clinical trials that are funded by the government, as well as many sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, medical centers, and some international organizations.

WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform Search Portal. The World Health Organization (WHO) coordinates health matters within the United Nations. This database allows people to search clinical trial registration information from many countries’ registries.

Disease-specific listing

Below is a free search engine that provides clinical trials listings for a specific type of cancer. This is a not-for-profit online service that helps users to find breast cancer-specific clinical trials that might be right for them. The site offers study summaries, a way for users to share their online health history with research sites, and an alert service that notifies users of recently added clinical trials. includes studies sponsored by the NCI, public research foundations, and the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry.

The above information is sourced from