At the beginning of a clinical trial, the researchers, known also as the treatment team, look for people who qualify to participate in the study.
The qualifications needed to participate in a clinical trial, known as eligibility criteria, depend on what the researchers are going to study. Often researchers decide who qualifies to participate in a clinical trial based on:
- Having the disease or health condition being studied (patient volunteers)
- Not having the disease or health condition being studied (healthy volunteers)
For example, if researchers want to find out how well a new drug for diabetes works on elderly people, they might search for people who are diabetic, and over the age of 75 to volunteer for their clinical trial.
Before you say ‘yes’ to join a clinical trial, you should talk to your personal doctor about how the study may improve or worsen your current health condition. Also, you should talk to the researchers about the possible benefits and risks to your health from the clinical trial. You always have the right to leave the clinical trial at any time and for any reason.