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Volunteer for Clinical Trials

Have you ever thought about taking part in a Medical Trial? By registering your details with, we are able to send your details directly to companies who are looking for volunteers to take part in their medical research studies.

Information about you is kept on a register that CROs, Pharmaceutical companies and Clinical Investigators can access to contact you regarding individual studies.

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What is a clinical trial?

Clinical Trials are research studies and programs that involve patients and compare new or different types of treatment with the best treatment currently available (if there is one). Some Clinical Trials also look at possible ways to prevent illnesses, for example by testing new vaccines. No matter how promising a new drug or treatment may appear during tests in a laboratory, it must go through a Clinical Trial before its risks and benefits can be known for certain.

In cancer research, a Clinical Trial is an organized study conducted in people with cancer to answer specific questions about a new treatment or a new way of using a known treatment. Each study attempts to increase medical knowledge and to find new and better ways to help cancer patients. Besides studying new anti-cancer drugs, Clinical Trials study new combinations of drugs already used in cancer treatment, new ways of giving treatment, and how changes in lifestyle can help cancer patients or prevent cancer from occurring. Other Clinical Trials compare the best known standard therapy with a newer therapy to see if one produces more cures and causes fewer side effects than the other.

Trials aim to find out if treatments used in health care:

  • Are safe
  • Have side effects
  • Work better than the treatment used currently
  • Help people feel better

It is now widely agreed that a properly run Clinical Trial is the best way to assess whether a treatment is, or is not, safe and effective.

The Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) carries out Clinical Trials in health care. They use trials to look at the best ways to:

  • Prevent illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS
  • Diagnose illnesses – for example by using scans and blood tests
  • Treat illnesses – for example by testing the effectiveness and safety of new drugs
  • Help people control their symptoms

If you would like to register your interest for a Clinical Trial please register and submit your details.

More Information

In health care, including medicine, a Clinical Trial (synonyms: clinical studies, research protocols, medical research) is the application of the scientific method to human health. Observational studies are those in which individuals are observed and their outcomes are measured by the investigators (e.g., natural experiment). Interventional studies are those in which the research subjects are assigned by the investigator to a treatment or other intervention, and their outcomes are measured. Researchers use interventional Clinical Trials to test hypotheses about the effect of a particular intervention upon a pathological disease condition. Well-run Clinical Trials use defined techniques and rigorous definitions to answer the researchers’ questions as accurately as possible.

Clinical Trials are only a small part of the research that goes into developing a new treatment. Potential drugs, for example, first have to be discovered, purified, characterized, and tested in labs (in cell and animal studies) before ever reaching Clinical Trials. In all, about 1,000 potential drugs are tested before just one reaches the point of being tested in a Clinical Trial. On average, a new cancer drug has at least 6 years of research behind it before it even makes it to Clinical Trials. But the major holdup in making new cancer drugs available is the time it takes to complete Clinical Trials themselves. On average, about 8 years pass from the time a cancer drug enters Clinical Trials until it is approved.

Why so long? To establish safety and effectiveness, researchers look at each new treatment in several different studies. Only certain people are eligible to take part in each Clinical Trial. And cancer trials, by their very nature, take years to complete. It takes months, if not years, to see if a cancer treatment works in any one person.

The biggest barrier to completing studies is the shortage of people who take part. Fewer than 5% of adults with cancer will do so. According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), about 400 cancer medicines were being tested in Clinical Trials in 2005. Not all of these will prove to be useful, but those that are may be delayed in getting approved because the number of participants is so low.

The most commonly performed Clinical Trials evaluate new drugs, medical devices, biologics, psychological therapies, or other interventions on patients in strictly scientifically controlled settings, and may be required for regulatory authority approval of new therapies. Trials may be designed to assess the safety and efficacy of an experimental therapy, to assess whether the new intervention is better than standard therapy, or to compare the efficacy of two standard or marketed interventions. The trial objectives and design are usually documented in a Clinical Trial protocol.

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