Research & Clinical Trials

Participating in research allows people to contribute to medical knowledge and offers the opportunity to receive cutting-edge care.

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Participating in Research

Testing New Drugs

Researchers conduct clinical trials to test a new drug for treatment, relief of symptoms, or for prevention of disease.

The systematic process to assure that the drug is safe and effective usually involves three testing phases:

  • Phase I trials usually involve a small number of patients and are designed to evaluate safety and optimal dosing of a new drug.
  • Phase II trials further test a new drug’s safety and efficacy.
  • Phase III trials involve more participants and compare new drugs to current standard treatments. Participants are usually randomly assigned to the group receiving standard treatment or the group receiving the new treatment.

Drug trials often measure multiple outcomes. Even when the overall goal is to determine whether a drug leads to longer disease-free survival, a trial may measure other “early endpoints,” such as whether a tumor shrinks in response to a drug. Monitoring early endpoints helps researchers to design larger trials involving more patients.

Participants in trials involving drugs often question whether or not they will receive a placebo, an intervention whose appearance, administration and delivery schedule is the same as the medication, but lacks the drug’s active ingredient.

Trials may involve placebos in different ways:

For diseases where there is a well-established treatment, patients are often randomly assigned to one of two groups:

  • a group who receives the established therapy and the new drug
  • a group who receives the established therapy and a placebo.

In studies involving diseases or conditions for which there is no known effective therapy, participants may be randomly assigned to the group that receives the drug being tested or to the group that receives the placebo.

Before a clinical trial begins, participants are advised when a placebo is involved, but they will not know whether they are included in the group that receives the placebo.

Learn about the latest breakthroughs in research and our ABOUT Network.

Featured Research

With input from our Scientific Advisory Board, FORCE critically evaluates new research articles on topics of interest to our community and makes the science understandable and accessible to our community.

Join the ABOUT Network

The goal of the ABOUT network is to enroll as many Americans with HBOC risk as possible into our research registry and to collect information and real world health care experiences that can be used along with information from medical records to improve care for people with HBOC.