Ethics and Regulation
The ethical and legal codes that govern medical practice also apply to clinical trials. In addition, most clinical research is federally regulated with built-in safeguards to protect the participants. The trial follows a carefully controlled protocol, a study plan that details what researchers will do in the study. As a clinical trial progresses, researchers report the results of the trial at scientific meetings, to medical journals, and to various government agencies. Individual participants' names will remain confidential and will not be mentioned in these reports.
Every clinical trial in the U.S. must be approved and monitored by an institutional review board (IRB) to make sure the risks are as low as possible and are worth any potential benefits. An IRB is an independent committee of physicians, statisticians, community advocates, and others that ensures that a clinical trial is ethical and the rights of study participants are protected. All institutions that conduct or support biomedical research involving people must, by federal regulation, have an IRB that initially approves and periodically reviews the research.
Leaving a trial
A participant can leave a clinical trial, at any time and for any reason. When withdrawing from the trial, the participant should let the research team know about it, and the reasons for leaving the study.
Informed consent is the process of learning the key facts about a clinical trial before deciding whether or not to participate. It is also a continuing process throughout the study to provide information for participants. To help someone decide whether or not to participate, the doctors and nurses involved in the trial explain the details of the study. If the participant's native language is not English, translation assistance can be provided. Then the research team provides an informed consent document that includes details about the study, such as its purpose, duration, required procedures, and key contacts. Risks and potential benefits are explained in the informed consent document. The participant then decides whether or not to enroll in the study. If an individual chooses to participate, he or she is asked to sign the informed consent document. Informed consent is not a contract, and the participant may withdraw from the study at any time.
Conduits is supported by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health through Grant Number UL1TR000067.
Any use of CTSA-supported resources requires citation of grant #UL1TR000067 awarded to Icahn School of Medicine in the acknowledgment section of every publication resulting from this support. Adherence to the NIH Public Access Policy is also required.