What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are research studies that test new and potentially better ways of improving peoples’ health. They are an important process to assess whether promising approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment are possible, safe, and effective in humans. Some trials also look at ways of enhancing a person’s quality of life.

Clinical trials are the final stages of a long and careful process that often starts many years earlier. Trials are the link between scientific discoveries made in the laboratory and making new treatments available for people with lung disease.

Talk to your doctor if you would like to take part in a clinical trial. Your doctor may be involved in a suitable trial, know of one being done elsewhere, or if not, may be able to help you find one.

If you hear of, or read about a clinical trial, for your chronic lung disease ask your doctor for more information. Keep in mind that clinical trials are not run at every treatment centre, so you might have to travel to a different location, including interstate, to take part in one.

Your doctor may suggest you enter a clinical trial. This would be only after you have been carefully assessed and the trial is believed to be suitable for you. If the trial is not suitable, you will be offered the best treatment available.

If you want to consider taking part, your doctor must explain the trial to you and make sure you understand it completely. Your treating doctor should answer any questions you have about the trial. If you’re unsure, ask your doctor about someone else you can talk to about the trial.

You can also seek a second opinion about the trial and other options. You should only agree to participate in a trial when you understand all you need to know about it.

Informed decision-making is required by law and is an essential part of being in a clinical trial. It means you should only be enrolled in a clinical trial after you understand the trial fully and have given your consent in writing.

You should be given a full explanation of the treatment proposed for you in the trial. Then you can discuss this with your doctor or nurse. Having all this information should enable you to decide whether you wish to participate in the trial.

If you choose to participate, you will be asked to sign an informed consent form before entering the trial. A copy of this form will be given to you for your records. This is a standard part of every clinical trial.