How to Find Clinical Trials Near You

Finding a clinical trial

Clinical research plays an essential role in the development of new medications and therapies. The treatments we rely on today were first evaluated in research studies. Medical discoveries depend on healthy volunteers and people with illnesses who are willing to participate in research and give feedback on their experience with these investigational drugs and innovative therapies. Finding a clinical trial can be a challenge. Some patients and healthcare professionals may not be aware that specific trials exist for a particular illness. Others might realize that clinical trials are an option, but have a hard time finding studies that are a good fit for them. Fortunately, there are several online search tools and advocacy groups that can help patients and healthcare professionals find clinical trials:
  • ClinicalTrials.gov – The website is a U.S. government resource maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The site provides access to information about ongoing and completed clinical studies on a wide range of diseases and conditions.
  • National Institutes of Health Clinical Center – This is an online database of publicly supported studies mostly taking place in the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. You can search by signs and symptoms or by a specific condition.
  • EudraCT - The EU Clinical Trials Register is maintained by the European Medicines Agency. This site contains information about clinical study protocols and the results of interventional trials conducted in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), as well as clinical trials conducted outside the EU/EEA that are linked to European pediatric medicine development.
  • Japan Registry of Clinical Trials (jRCT) – This clinical research database was established by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) to ensure transparency of the research process. All clinical trials conducted in Japan are registered and published in this database.
  • CDE Drug Clinical Trial Registry and Information Publicity Platform –The Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE) of the China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) establishes, maintains and updates the "Drug Clinical Trial Registration and Information Publicity Platform". All drug clinical trials conducted in China, including bioequivalence, pharmacokinetics, phase 1 to 4 trials are required to be registered and disclosed in this platform.
  • Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) – The CISCRP Team helps potential trial participants find research studies in their area. The site provides free educational materials and offers to connect individuals with volunteer opportunities.
  • Research Match – This is a nonprofit program funded by the National Institutes of Health. It is a secure and free registry where volunteers can sign up and look for studies they are interested in. Researchers can also use it to find people who might want to participate in their studies.
  • Astellas Clinical Trials – This is an online database of clinical trials sponsored by Astellas. You can use the Astellas Clinical Trials web site to learn more about clinical trials, to search for an Astellas trial that might be a good fit for you or for someone you care about, and to find more information about Astellas trials that are seeking participants as well as results of completed Astellas trials.
There are also resources that tailor to specific conditions/illnesses. For example, patients with GI cancer might find a clinical trial that is right for them through GI Cancers Alliance, through Debbie's Dream Foundation or through individual clinical oncology centers. As well, someone seeking clinical trial information for a family member with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) or Mitochondrial Disease could learn about clinical trial options through CureDuchenne, Jett Foundation, MitoAction, or other resources and medical centers focused on DMD and mitochondrial disease.

Definition of terms

To better understand research study documents and carefully select the best option for you, it is helpful to understand some of the common terms used in research. The following sites are reliable sources of basic knowledge and definition of terms used in clinical trials:

Joining a clinical trial

Regardless of whether you are a patient seeking treatment for an illness being studied in a clinical trial or a healthy volunteer who might want to participate, talk to your doctor about your interest in joining a trial. Your doctor might already be aware of trials in your area that might be a good fit. Once you have found a trial, someone from the trial site will talk you through the trial details, including the potential benefits, the risks, and the commitment expected for trial participants. Feel free to ask the trial team questions. Make sure you are confident in your decision to join. Before you decide to join a trial, you deserve to know:
  • What treatments will I receive?
  • Has this treatment been tested before? If so, what do we know about it?
  • How does this treatment compare with regular treatments or the standard of care for my condition?
  • How often will I need to visit the study site? How long will each visit take?
  • What kinds of tests will I undergo, and how often?
  • If I am taking medications for other conditions, can I continue taking them during the trial?
  • What happens if I am not able to complete the trial?
  • Will the study sponsor cover the costs of my medical care during the trial?
  • If the treatment helps me, can I continue to receive it after the trial is completed?
  • How can I learn about the results of the trial when it is finished?
You may also wish to bring a list of questions like these: https://www.clinicaltrials.astellas.com/questions/

The Clinical Trial Protocol

All clinical trials follow a research plan, which is also called a protocol. The clinical trial protocol is a document that is written before the trial starts. It is reviewed by health authorities to ensure that the trial design is sound (in other words, that the data collected in the trial will be sufficient to answer the main questions being asked) and that patients’ rights and safety will be protected during the trial. The protocol describes the purpose of the trial, the types of treatment that participants will receive, the duration of treatment, and even the specific tests that will be performed at planned times throughout the trial. The details of the protocol are explained to clinical trial participants in an “informed consent” form. This form should include – in language that is easy to understand – information to help you make an informed decision about participating in the trial. Someone from the trial site will review this form with you before you decide to join.