How To Find and Join a Clinical Trial: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Find and Join a Clinical Trial: A Step-by-Step Guide

You may be interested in learning how to get involved in research studies, but it can be confusing to understand the steps needed to be a clinical trial participant. Whether you’re looking to participate in a clinical trial as a healthy volunteer or as a patient seeking advanced treatment options, make sure to follow this step-by-step guide to learn about how to find and join a clinical trial. 

Why Participate in Clinical Trials? 

Clinical research participation is a cornerstone of the evolution of health care in today’s world. When you volunteer for clinical trials, you are not only potentially advancing your own health outcomes (particularly if you suffer from a rare condition or disease), but you are also potentially benefiting the health of everyone in your community as well. Beyond these intangible benefits, people who join medical research trials are often compensated for their travel, time, and participation, as well. 

How to Find Clinical Studies 

To find a clinical study, it can be helpful to follow these steps. 

Step 1: Clarify Your Motivation 

Are you looking to volunteer your time as a healthy trial participant? Or are you looking for innovative therapies for an acute or chronic medical condition? Understanding your motivation for joining a clinical trial is an important first step in directing your search. 

Step 2: Discuss With Your Healthcare Provider 

If you are suffering from a particular medical condition and are interested in trial participation, ask your medical provider about getting involved in research. Many healthcare providers who deal with specialized medical treatments (such as oncologists or rheumatologists) will be aware of current clinical trials that you may be eligible for, so it never hurts to ask about ongoing trials that you can join. 

Step 3: Do Your Research 

After checking in with your medical provider, it’s time to do your research. There are many clinical trial databases that you have access to as a potential volunteer. 

  • lists several different clinical trials in its searchable clinical trial registry. 
  • You can visit a particular medical center’s website to evaluate trials that are active or planned at that site. 
  • You can visit an advocacy group’s website for a particular condition to see their list of recommendations for trials. 

Step 4: Narrow Down Your List 

Once you’ve generated a list of trials, it’s time to narrow down your list. Make sure to keep track of the protocol summary for each trial that interests you. This summary will discuss each trial’s aim, the treatments that will be tested, and the locations where it will take place. Each of these factors may ultimately influence your decision to participate in a clinical trial. 

Step 5: Gather Your Health Information and Contact the Trial Coordinator 

When you have identified a particular trial that you’re interested in joining, you may want to act quickly. Often, trials operate on fixed timelines and there are specific windows of opportunity during which you can be screened. Having all of your health information at the ready (including summaries of your past medical history, any recent lab work or imaging, and any referral letters or otherwise) may help you be better prepared when you contact a site’s trial coordinator (their contact information should be included in the description of the trial). 

What Are Clinical Trial Participation Guidelines? 

After identifying a clinical trial and contacting the trial coordinator, the research team will need to determine your clinical trial eligibility. This process may involve submitting information, traveling to a site for an interview or health exam, or otherwise. 

Participation eligibility for a clinical trial often includes factors such as: 

  • Your age 
  • Your gender 
  • Your medical condition 
  • The stage of your medical condition 
  • Your overall health 
  • Your treatment history 

If you’re selected for a clinical trial, you will need to accept the trial’s participation guidelines. This process includes signing an informed consent document that signifies that you understand the trial terms and want to continue to be screened and take part in the study. It’s very important to know that when you are a clinical trial participant, you are not locked into participation – you can decide to leave the clinical trial at any point and for any reason. 

How to Learn More About Clinical Trial Screening 

The clinical trial enrollment teams at M3 Wake Research are committed to advancing medicine through clinical research trials to improve the lives of current and future generations. With nearly four decades of industry experience, M3 Wake Research endeavors to improve the health care of all through its clinical trial opportunities.  

Interested in joining a study or want to learn more? View a list of our currently enrolling studies