The Benefits of Clinical Research Trials

There are advantages and disadvantages to taking part in a kidney disease clinical trial and these may vary, depending on the trial. If you do find a suitable trial, think about the possible advantages and disadvantages and discuss these with your doctor or nurse. This will help you to decide if the trial is right for you.

  • Access promising new treatment methods that you can’t get outside clinical research.
  • The new method may have less side effects than the usual care.
  • You may be the first to benefit from the new method of kidney disease treatment.
  • You are helping others with the same disease, both now and in the future.
  • You play an active role in your own health care.

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Experts who know how clinical trials actually function are in disbelief that the American public views them negatively. Carolyn R. Aldige, president and founder of the Cancer Research Foundation of America, explains “Anyone with a cancer that cannot be effectively treated should aggressively seekout participation in a clinical trial. The chances of receiving the latest and best treatment is so much higher.”

Aldige’s organization is sponsoring a national survey in hopes of gaining a better understanding of why people are reluctant to enroll in cancer trials. In cancer trials, she notes, patients always receive either the best standard treatment or an additional treatment that may be even more effective.

Aldige points out that clinical trials have a high degree of protection for patients. Every trial is approved by the FDA to assure that the product being tested will be safe, and by an institutional review board, consisting of experts at the institution where the trial is taking place. The review board, among other things, assures that patients receive the information they need to decide whether to participate.

A patient must sign an informed consent form to participate in a study. A good informed consent form will tell them what the therapy is for, whether all patients will receive an active drug, what the possible or expected benefits are, and what the risks may be.

During clinical studies, extensive information is gathered from the patients — their disease or condition, how they react to the treatment, and potential side effects, which will be monitored.

Aldige and other experts advise people with diseases that do not have fully effective treatments to explore — through their physicians, newspapers, or the Internet — the possibility of enrolling in clinical trials. Not only will these patients benefit, but the more people who enroll, the more quickly new therapies will become available for people who may need them in the future.