Participation

Why participate?

Clinical trials provide information regarding new or existing treatments and their effects on our health. This information may lead to the development of safer and more effective treatments.

The techniques and medications we use today, are all available thanks to subjects that participated in clinical trials. Without volunteers, there would not be as many effective treatments available or such a deep knowledge developed as we have today.

There are still diseases that cannot be treated, or not optimally, and you may be able to help develop these as a volunteer!

Can I participate?

Trial subjects can be divided into two groups:

1.    Healthy volunteers:

Healthy volunteers generally are not diagnosed with a specific disease and are not using any medication. Sometimes certain diseases and medications are permitted (such as hay fever or contraceptives), but this depends on the study protocol.

2.    Patients:

Patients are anyone who has been diagnosed with a specific disease and / or is using medication. Sometimes people with risk factors (such as high cholesterol levels) are also considered patients.

Healthy volunteers can participate in phase I trials and patients can participate in phase II, III and IV trials.

Trial phases

Research on new treatments is always performed in four steps (phases):

Phase I: Research with healthy volunteers

Phase II: Research with patients (small group)

Phase III: Treatment of patients (large group)

Phase IV: Research with medication already on the market

You can participate in a Phase I trial if you:

- are physically and mentally healthy 
- are not using medication, or can easily stop without problems 
- don't have (or ever had) an alcohol or drug addiction 
- don't have a drug allergy

Phase I trials sometimes include patients instead of healthy volunteers, in the case of a new cancer drug or a drug that is expected to have more side effects. An example would be a new chemotherapy for lung cancer. In these cases the phase I and II trials can be combined.

Besides the criteria mentioned above, there usually are also trial specific requirements. For example:

- gender 
- age 
- length and weight proportion 
- smoke behavior

U can participate in a phase II, III or IV trial, if you have a specific disease or risk factor, which the new therapy is designed to treat. Generally, it is permitted to use other medication during these trials. The other criteria listed above for the phase I trials, also apply for the phase II, III and IV trials.

Click here for more information about the different phases of clinical trials.

What are the benefits?

Participation in a trial may offer some benefits. Clinical trials are carefully designed, performed with great attention to detail by expert personnel and are a good way to:

- play an active role in your health care 
- get access to new treatments before they are widely available 
- get the best medical care at the most prominent medical organizations during the trial 
- help others, by participating in medical research

- healthy volunteers sometimes receive  fee.

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