Research needs both researchers and volunteers. Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research.

All clinical trials have guidelines about who can participate. Using inclusion/exclusion criteria is an important principle of clinical research that helps produce reliable results. Participation criteria may include age, gender, type and stage of disease, treatment history, and other medical conditions. A participant must qualify for the study before being consented for a clinical trial.

The ethical and legal codes that govern medical practice also apply to clinical trials. A participant should evaluate the potential risks and benefits before participating. The details of your care during a study will be reviewed during a consultation with an RN research coordinator.

During a consultation, the following information is reviewed with the candidate:

  • Why researchers believe the experimental treatment may be effective
  • Whether the experimental treatment has been previously tested
  • Kinds of tests involved, if any
  • Possible risks, side effects and benefits and how they compare with current treatment
  • Participant’s responsibilities and how long the study will last
  • Follow-up care after study
  • Evaluation methods for experimental treatment

Candidates should ask questions, like:

  • What can I expect if I participate?
  • What are the possible risks?
  • Will the research help me personally?
  • Can I leave the study at any time?
  • Will it cost me anything?

Participants' care is often covered by insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. Please check with your provider. If you're interested in participating in a clinical trial, please contact the St. John Clinical Research Institute at 918-744-3068 or