- Patients taking part in NIH Clinical Center studies are seen by a team of expert doctors, dentists, nurses, technicians, and support staff.
- Clinical Center patients often are first to receive promising new treatments before they become available in the community.
- Patients are helping others with the same disease, both today and in the future.
It is important to understand that some risks are involved in clinical research, just as in routine medical care and activities of daily living. In thinking about the risks of research, it is helpful to focus on two things:
- the degree of harm that could result from taking part in the study
- and the chance of any harm occurring
Most clinical studies pose risks of minor discomfort, lasting only a short time. Some volunteer subjects, however, experience complications that require medical attention.
The specific risks associated with any research protocol are described in detail in the consent document, which you are asked to sign before taking part in research. In addition, the major risks of participating in a study will be explained to you by a member of the research team, who will answer your questions about the study. Before deciding to participate, you should carefully weigh these risks against possible benefits.
You may or may not receive direct benefit for yourself and your condition as a result of participating in research, but in either case, you will know that the knowledge developed may help others.