Providence Brain and Spine Institute Clinical Trials FAQ

Clinical Trials Offer Patients More Options

If you have a certain type of neurological condition, you may qualify for a clinical trial. Providence Brain and Spine Institute brings together expert clinicians and researchers who specialize in neurological and neurosurgical care. Working together, these experts provide best in care for brain and spine conditions. Clinical trials provide opportunity to try cutting-edge therapies and offer access to the newest treatments for a variety of diseases.

What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial... clinical study... clinical protocol... they all mean the same thing. A clinical trial is a scientific study of how an investigational medicine or device (that is, one not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human use) works. Clinical trial doctors and researchers find new and better way to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses.

How can I participate in a clinical trial?

In talking with a doctor, a patient may choose to participate in a clinical trial. Participation is voluntary, you always have the right to stop taking part in a study. Each clinical trial has criteria that a person must meet in order to qualify for the trial. These criteria assure patients’ safety by protecting them from known risks associated with the trial. For example, some experimental medicines can only be given safely if a patient has normal liver or normal kidney function, which would be determined by a laboratory test.

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, you will be screened for the study and receive detailed information about the study. If you decide to volunteer, you will be required to sign an "informed consent" document.

What happens during a clinical trial?

During a clinical trial, the research staff see patients on a regular basis to monitor their health and determine the effectiveness of the study treatment. You will be asked to monitor your symptoms, take medicines as prescribed and come to the clinic for appointments as outlined in the study protocol.

What are the benefits of participating?

Most trials offer no guaranteed benefit. Volunteers may benefit indirectly in the following ways:

  • They obtain expert medical care at a leading healthcare and research facility.
  • They gain access to investigational medications and treatments that may help their conditions.
  • Their health condition is monitored closely.
  • They help future generations by contributing to medical knowledge.

What are the risks of participating?

Any potential risks from a particular clinical trial will be communicated to you prior to participation. Your study doctor and the clinical trial staff will discuss potential risks. Such as:

  • Undesirable or untoward side effects that may occur. In rare cases, serious side effects that may occur.
  • The study treatment may not be effective.
  • The schedule for study treatments may require more of your time and attention than your usual care.
  • Loss of confidentiality even though every attempt will be made to protect your privacy.

Can volunteers stop participating once they begin a trial?

Yes. Volunteers may quit participating in a clinical trial at any time. If you opt out of clinical trial, you will receive the same level of care from your doctor that you received before you started the trial.

If you are interested...

To learn more about volunteering for a clinical trial, please talk with your doctor. A clinical trial may be available that could help you.