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Understanding Clinical Trials

Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision. The frequently asked questions (FAQs) below and in linked pages provide detailed information about clinical trials. In addition, it is often helpful to talk to a physician, family members, or friends about deciding to join a trial. For answers to your specific questions, contact the study research staff or one of our neurosurgeons.

What Are Clinical Trials?

A clinical trial is a research study in human volunteers to answer specific health questions. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the safest and fastest way to the discovery of effective treatments and therefore new ways of improving health.

Clinical trials are conducted according to a plan called a protocol. The protocol describes what types of patients may enter the study, the schedules of tests and procedures, the drugs and dosages, and the length of study, as well as the outcomes that will be measured. Each person participating in the study must agree to the rules set out by the protocol.

The Food and Drug Administration’s job is to make sure medical treatments are safe and effective for people to use. The FDA, however, does not develop new therapies or conduct the clinical trials to demonstrate safety and effectiveness. FDA staff members meet with researchers and perform inspections of clinical trial study sites to protect the rights of participants and to verify the quality and integrity of the data.

For more information about clinical trials and how to participate in one of our trials, click on the links below:

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