Did you know that it takes an average of 12 years for a prescription drug to make it from the beginning – an experiment in a laboratory – to its final destination, your pharmacy shelf? Before a new medicine, therapy, or method of preventing or diagnosing a disease can be approved for human use, it first must be tested by researchers for many years. The product is tested in a laboratory, and eventually makes its way to being tested in humans during clinical trials.

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Clinical trials test to be sure the new product does what it is supposed to do for the human body, and does more good than harm. A clinical trial (or clinical research study) is the last phase of research that is done on a product to prove its safety and effectiveness before it is approved by the FDA to be distributed to the public.

  • What is a clinical trial?

    A clinical trial is a type of medical research or study that involves people. Another name for a clinical trial is a clinical research study.

  • Types of clinical trials

    Learn about the different types of clinical trials like treatment trials, prevention trials, genetic trials, and more.

  • Who can be part of a clinical trial?

    Learn how your age, gender, and whether you are a healthy or patient volunteer can determine whether you can join a clinical trial.

Phases of a clinical trial

Phases of clinical trials

Learn about the four phases of a clinical trial. Each phase helps move the study along, step by step. The purpose of a clinical trial could be to study a medicine, a therapy, or a method of preventing or detecting a disease.

Advantages and disadvantages of participating in clinical trials

Advantages and disadvantages of participating in clinical trials

Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of participating in clinical trials.

Patient safety

Patient safety and concerns

Learn about the safeguards that are in place for those signing up for clinical trials.

Medical terms

Important terms to understand

Understand important clinical trial terms such as placebo, bias, single-blind studies and more.

How do I find a clinical trial?

Visit ClinicalTrials.gov. This is the best resource for you or your family to find clinical trials. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, be sure to talk to your personal doctor about finding one that is right for you.

The American Kidney Fund has partnered with Antidote Match to help make it easier to find clinical trials that may be of interest to you or your family. Use the ‘match to clinical trials’ box below to type in the condition for which you are seeking treatment and answer the follow-up questions to find a list of clinical trials for which you may be eligible.

It is important to remember that not everyone is eligible to join in every clinical trial. Researchers often look for patients who meet a very specific set of eligibility criteria. If you are not eligible for trials you find listed here, do not give up. New trials begin all the time. It is also important to know that not all research studies are done with the goal of finding a cure. Many trials are done to improve existing treatments or to find other treatment options for patients who have significant side effects with current treatments.