What it is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a carefully organised study testing how a new treatment or a new drug works on humans. Clinical trials are also called clinical studies or research experiments. “Clinical” because it takes place in a clinic or hospital, not in the laboratory. A clinical trial is laid out in a 100-130-page detailed protocol.

The key questions of the study must always be answered:

  • How well does the tested drug work?
  • Is it more effective than the current treatment?
  • Is it safe and are there any side effects?

All clinical trials in Britain must be approved in advance by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and by the Ethics Committee. Clinical trials take place in 4 phases. Members of the British Research Panel may be invited to participate in Phases 2, 3 and/or 4.

Phase 1: The first time the drug is tested on humans. Typically it is tested on a small group of healthy individuals (20-80 people). Phase 1 examines the safety of the drug, how it decomposes in the body and its perceived effects and side effects.

Phase 2: The trials are then performed on a group of patients suffering from the illness that the drug is made for. Often 100-300 people participate. The purpose of the study is to further investigate the effectiveness of the new drug and to determine the right dosage.

Phase 3: These trials include many patients with the relevant disease, from 500-10,000 people. The new drug is tested against existing products on the market. The treatment’s effect and dosage are tested and side effects monitored. Phase 3 trials often last 2-3 years. Depending on the results, the pharmaceutical company then submits an application for authorization to release the drug or treatment to market.

Phase 4: These trials take place after the drug or treatment has been on the market for a while. A significant number of people receive the product and investigations are conducted to see whether there are other risks, new uses for the product or very rare side effects.

Why you are vital to research?

Clinical research depends entirely on patient involvement when developing and testing new medications and therapies. All drugs must be tested on humans before being released for general use.

There are 6 good reasons why you should participate in clinical research:

  • You contribute to scientific development of new medicine and treatments for people with the same illness as yourself.
  • You have the opportunity to try out new treatments at no cost.
  • You ensure that medical research and development are maintained at British hospitals, enabling doctors to offer new treatments to British patients.
  • You will be taken care of by highly specialized medical teams and receive extraordinary care.
  • You will gain in-depth knowledge about your own illness and better ways to manage it.
  • Your travel expenses for your participation will be covered, and in some cases financial compensation for your effort may be offered.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Is my information safe with you?

The British Research Panel is approved by the Data Inspection Agency and complies with the strictest requirements for data security and storage.

Is it free to be a member of this panel?

Yes, it will not cost you anything to be a member of the British Research Panel.

What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial or study investigates how a new medicine or treatment works on humans. It looks for both the effects and any possible side effects. Clinical trials are conducted in 4 phases.

Does it cost me anything to join a clinical trial?

No, participation is always free and voluntary. All medication and examinations related to the study are free of charge.

Will the study cover my expenses and loss of wages?

Yes, you will always receive compensation for your travel expenses. In most cases, you will also receive compensation if a clinical visit or an examination is extended.

Can I unsubscribe or leave the British Research Panel?

Yes, you may unsubscribe and leave the panel at any time. We will delete all of your information from our database.

Can I change my mind about participation in a study?

Yes, you may change your mind and withdraw from the study at  any time.

How will you contact me and how often?

You will only hear from the British Research Panel if a new research study matches your health profile and takes place at a clinic or hospital in your area. With your consent, we send you an email where you can read more about the study.

Where do the tests take place?

All studies are conducted at British hospitals and clinics. Specialized doctors and highly trained nurses are responsible for the treatment and examinations in the research facilities.

How long does a trial run and how many visits should I expect?

Most studies have a duration of 1-2 years. You may expect to go to the site 3-4 times to begin with for thorough examinations, followed by routine visits every 4 months. However, this depends on the particular study.

What is a placebo?

A placebo looks like medicine, but is an inactive product, often a calcium tablet. In studies, a placebo is sometimes given to a small group of participants to exclude a false, positive effect that often occurs. Neither doctor nor participant knows whether they are handling a placebo or the active substance. This is called a double-blind study.