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Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions provide information about participation in research studies.

Q. What is a clinical trial?
A. A clinical trial is a research study on human volunteers to answer specific health questions. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work for people and ways to improve health.
Q. Why should I participate in a clinical trial?
A. By participating in a clinical trial, you can play a more active role in your own health, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research.
Q. Who can participate in a clinical trial?
A. All clinical trials have guidelines about who can participate. These guidelines are based on such factors as age, gender, the type and stage of a disease or condition, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions. Before joining a clinical trial, a participant must qualify for the study. Some research studies seek participants with illnesses or conditions to be studied in the clinical trial, while others need healthy participants.
Q. What happens during a clinical trial?
A. The clinical trial process depends on the kind of trial being conducted. The clinical trial team includes doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They check the health of the participant at the beginning of the trial; give specific instructions for participants in the trial; monitor the participant carefully during the trial; and stay in touch after the trial is completed for some period of time.
Q. What is informed consent?
A. Informed consent is the process of learning the key facts about a research study before deciding whether or not to participate. It is also a continuing process throughout the study to provide information for participants.
Q. How is the safety of the participant protected?
A. The ethical and legal codes that govern medical practice also apply to clinical trials.
Q. Can a participant leave a research study after it has begun?
A. Yes. A participant can leave a research study at any time.
Q. What is a protocol?
A. A protocol is a study plan on which a research project is based. The plan is designed to safeguard the health of the participants as well as answer specific research questions.
Q. What is a placebo?
A. A placebo is an inactive pill, liquid, or powder that has no treatment value. In clinical trials, experimental treatments are often compared with placebos to evaluate the treatment's effectiveness.

If you have additional questions, ACT Center staff are available to assist you.

If you are considering joining a research study being conducted by the ACT Center, your first meeting is designed to present detailed information to you about the study, and give you an opportunity to ask questions before you enroll.

The ACT Center at tThe University of Mississippi Medical Center
The University of Mississippi Medical Center