Understanding Clinical Research

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Clinical research studies are a means of understanding diseases and of developing new treatments based on direct study and observation of people. When patients and healthy volunteers enroll in a clinical protocol or clinical trial, they become partners with members of the research team who are experts in their disease and who are searching for better ways to understand and treat disease. Their participation is essential for helping others with the same or similar diseases, both for today and in future generations.

At Rockefeller University Hospital patients can take part in clinical studies covering a wide range of medical diseases and conditions (see Clinical Studies and Protocols). The Clinical Research Support Office provides Research Subject Advocacy services to research volunteers, and to research support services to research teams at Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

Choosing to participate in clinical research is an important personal decision. Participation in a study is predicated on voluntary enrollment and a full understanding of what is involved in the study. This informed consent is a prerequisite for any study, and includes understanding the risks and benefits of taking part, what kinds of tests and treatments will be done, and how much time it will take.

Interpreter services are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week in many languages for non-English speaking research volunteer/participants.

To participate, patients and healthy volunteers must meet certain requirements that are different for each study. These inclusion/exclusion criteria are not used to reject people personally but rather to identify appropriate participants and to keep them safe.

The Rockefeller University Institutional Review Board reviews and approves every new study before it can begin, to ensure scientific rigor and to protect the rights and welfare of the study partcipants.

To take part, patients need to feel well informed, confident, and secure about participating. Speak to family members, doctors, researchers, and hospital staff to see if participation in clinical research is appropriate for you. Information on Rockefeller University Hospital clinical research studies can be found at Clinical Studies and Protocols.

Additional information on clinical studies can be found at the governmental website clinicaltrials.gov or at the private website centerwatch.com.