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Clinical trials are a key part of developing and proving new therapies and treatments for disease.  Clinical trials offer benefits to eligible participants that may not be otherwise available. 

Benefits of Participation

  • Potential access to the most up-to-date medical treatments for an illness 
  • No-cost medical care: Participants in a clinical trial are closely monitored by doctors and other health professionals throughout the course of the study.
  • Participation may offer remuneration for time and effort

Volunteers play an important role in making clinical research and the development of new treatments possible.  By participating in an ethically approved clinical trial you play an active role in your health care, and assist with the development of new treatment options for all patients.

To find out if there is a trial that could benefit you, visit our Current Trials page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are volunteers paid?
Some studies do offer remuneration for time and effort.  In making a decision to participate in a trial, you should always consider the potential risks as well as benefits to you.  It is important to remember that clinical trials are studies of real medical treatments and your participation makes a valuable contribution to health care.

Are trials safe?
Clinical trials test the safety and effectiveness of a study medication.  As with all medications, there are risks of adverse reaction to the study medication.  Ethically approved clinical trials are carefully designed to minimize the risks and ensure the safety of study volunteers. 

  • Study co-coordinators carefully interview each potential volunteer about their health and any current treatments to determine if the study is right for the volunteer.
  • Trial specific information is provided to each volunteer, explaining the study, what to expect, and when to contact a health professional. 
  • Volunteers are closely monitored by experienced health professionals and researchers throughout the course of the study. 
  • Volunteers are in contact with researchers to report on their overall health and well-being and to voice any questions or concerns.
  • Volunteers are able to continue care with their regular GP or care provider.

Are all trials the same?
Clinical trials are categorized in four different groups or Phases.  As a study medication goes through each phase, researchers begin to know more about the medication, how patients respond to the medication, and any possible adverse reactions to the medication.  Each Phase has strict regulations about how trials are to be conducted and conditions for volunteer participation.  AusTrials primarily runs Phase II, III, and IV trials. 

  • Phase I Trials are when a drug is tested in humans for the first time.  The testing at this phase looks at the safety of a treatment – or any adverse side effects – as well as assessing dosing levels.  These studies are generally done with a small group of healthy volunteers over several months. 
  • Phase II Trials test the efficacy of a treatment – or how well it works.  These studies are generally done with a larger group of volunteers who have a specific illness.  Usually there is one group of patients that receives the study treatments and another group that receives either a placebo or the current standard treatment for the illness.
  • Phase III Trials are large scale studies often involving several thousand volunteer patients.  Phase III allows researchers to gain a better understanding of the benefits and possible adverse reactions to the treatment on a larger scale and over a longer period of time.  After successfully completing Phase III trials, a company can submit the study information to get approval to market the treatment.
  • Phase IV Trials are conducted after a treatment has been approved for sale. Phase IV allows companies and researchers to continue to monitor the treatment as well as evaluate how it compares to other treatments available.

I’m not sick - will I be able to find a trial?
As each treatment being studied is different, each clinical trial has different requirements for participation and offers different benefits to volunteers.  While some studies require only patients with a specific illness or of a certain age or gender, some studies may be looking for healthy volunteers from various backgrounds (such as flu-shot studies, or contraceptive pill studies).  Visit our Current Trials page to find out more about available trials.

If you have questions or concerns about participating in a clinical trial, contact an AusTrials representative, or visit our Links page for additional resources.