What happens if I am not eligible for a clinical study?

It can be disappointing not to qualify for a clinical trial, but eligibility criteria -- the base requirements for participation -- are necessary to ensure the accuracy and safety of a study. Remember, the eligibility criteria for clinical trials are different. Not being eligible for one trial will not impact your eligibility for others.

The National Institutes of Health maintains a website -- clinicaltrials.gov -- listing more than 300,000 trials in more than 200 countries. The site is searchable by type of disease and lists the eligibility criteria for each trial. Talk to your doctor to see if other clinical trials might be a better fit for you. New trials open constantly, so be sure to check the website regularly.

For those who don't qualify for a study, but still want to gain access to new treatments, there are other options: compassionate use and right to try.

Compassionate use allows people who are facing a serious or life-threatening condition, where no other therapy is available, to apply to receive potential new treatments that are being studied and that have yet to be approved for use. Right to try provides access to experimental therapies to terminally ill patients in certain circumstances. In both cases, your doctor will have to reach out to the pharmaceutical company and the FDA to gain permission to prescribe the treatment to you.

If I am eligible, who will contact me and who do they work for?
You will be contacted by a member of the clinical trial research team, typically the Research Coordinator. The Research Coordinator, who is often a nurse, serves as the liaison between patients and the researchers...
What questions should I ask my doctor?
Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have before deciding to enroll in a trial. Your doctor can also help you come up with important questions to ask the clinical trial team before you meet with them.
Why do people participate in clinical trials?
All types of people are needed to join clinical trials.