Clinical Trials Frequently Asked Questions

If you are considering participating in a clinical trial, we encourage you to become familiar with the process. A clinical trial is an actual research study in which our researchers test new drugs, medical devices or treatments on volunteers. Please review our Frequently Asked Questions and talk to your doctor about your interest in participating in a trial.

What is a clinical trial?

How are clinical trials carried out?

Why are clinical trials important?

Why should you consider a clinical trial?

What sets Penn's clinical trials program apart?

What are the different types of clinical trials?

What are the phases of clinical trials?

Are there different types of cancer clinical trials?

Who manages clinical trials?

What are eligibility criteria, and why are they important?

How is the safety of clinical trial participants protected? What is an IRB?

What is a Data and Safety Monitoring Board?

What is informed consent?

What does a trial's "phase" mean?

Are placebos used in cancer treatment clinical trials?

What are some of the possible benefits of taking part in a clinical trial?

What are some of the potential harms associated with taking part in a clinical trial?

Who pays for the costs of care for people in clinical trials?

What happens when a clinical trial is over?