Frequently Asked Questions


What Is a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial is a regulated, systematic way to answer a question related to health care.  The results can range from finding a better way to detect or control a disease or disorder to prevention and cure.  Also called medical research or research studies, clinical trials are used to determine the safety and effectiveness of new drugs or treatments for the people who may need them.

Patient volunteers are monitored for side effects by closely supervised and ethically designed trials.  As with any medical intervention, there are potential risks that you need to know about before you decide to enroll in a clinical trial.  Your participation may require visits to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and/or its affiliates.  Any questions you may have about the study will be answered before you participate.


Why Participate In a Clinical Trial?

As a volunteer you have the opportunity to be involved in clinical research that may bring about advances in science and health care.  Volunteers are needed in all areas of clinical research, from trials in healthy volunteers to disease specific studies.


How Can I Find Out About Clinical Trials at Vanderbilt I May Be Interested In?

Vanderbilt is pleased to announce a new on-line service, "ResearchMatch", a not-for-profit effort that will help match people who would like to participate in research with researchers at Vanderbilt and nationwide via a secure and convenient online web portal.

Volunteers of any age, race, ethnicity or health status are invited to join.

If you are interested in a cancer clinical trial, please see the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center web page on How Do I Sign Up for a Clinical Trial.


What Are Other Good Resources For Information About Clinical Trials?

  • provides patients, family members, and members of the public easy and free access to information on clinical studies for a wide range of diseases and conditions.            
  • The National Cancer Institute provides accurate, up-to-date information about many types of cancer, information about clinical trials, resources for people dealing with cancer, and information for researchers and health professionals.