What if a clinical trial could change everything?

The future of healthcare relies on the promising research that comes from clinical trials. By joining one of the trials at Dartmouth Cancer Center, you can become a part of medical advancements that may change the lives of those experiencing illnesses like yours.

Clinical trials provide the data that our researchers need to help develop the latest treatments, medications and medical devices. And while there are no guarantees of success, this is how success begins. Cures start here.

A hiker at the top of a mountain with their arms outstretched shown from behind

Find the right trial for you.

Every cure starts with a question.

There’s no telling what happens when we ask, “what if?” Many advancements in medicine are made possible by clinical trials. So, when you join a trial, you could help enable better care for millions.

There are many success stories of patients who have joined a clinical trial, but if you change your mind, you can leave the trial at any time. You are in control.

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Dartmouth Cancer Center, an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a trusted provider of world-class care and research.

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Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is a personal decision. Your healthcare provider can help you consider how participation works for you.

Learn about the clinical trials process

Answers to your questions about clinical trials

How do I know if I'm eligible?

Each clinical trial has its own qualifications which may include age, gender, the type and stage of your disease, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions. As you search for your clinical trial, you will learn whether you may be a candidate to participate.

What is the commitment involved?

The time commitment, location and frequency of appointments varies depending on which trial you participate in. You will receive more information before you begin. The care you receive during a clinical trial does not replace the standard care you are receiving for your illness. The additional time commitment can include doctor visits, phone calls, more treatments, a hospital stay or a more complicated treatment regimen.

What are the chances I will get a placebo?

A placebo is a substance that has no intended treatment effect on the patient. They are sometimes used as a control in testing new drugs. If placebos will be used in the clinical trial you are thinking about, you will be fully informed ahead of time.

Are clinical trials safe?

Patient safety is always our top priority. Clinical trials are highly regulated to ensure they are conducted according to strict scientific and ethical principles.

Every clinical trial has a plan, called a protocol, describing what will happen in the study and why it is necessary. Before a trial begins, a committee reviews the protocol and approves it only if the clinical trial meets certain standards. At Dartmouth Health, this group is called the DH Institutional Review Board (IRB).

What are the possible risks?

There is no guarantee that the clinical trial treatment will work for you, even if the results may benefit other patients. The treatments may cause side effects. Known risks are identified. You'll see them outlined on your consent form, specific to your particular research study. Long-term risks are often not well known because the drug or device hasn't been around long enough for the data to be available.

Do I have to pay to be a part of a clinical trial?

Generally, patients do not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs associated with participation in a clinical trial. Insurance may be asked to pay for routine tests that would otherwise be included in a standard care plan for the illness. Prior to joining a clinical trial, you receive an "informed consent form" that will detail any research-related costs or special testing which are covered by the trial's sponsor. Every trial is different, so our financial counselors can answer any questions you may have.

What is informed consent?

When you first meet with the research team, they will walk you through a process called "informed consent" to discuss:

  • The purpose of the study
  • Tests and procedures involved
  • Possible risks and benefits
  • If there will be any costs to you
  • How the researchers will protect your privacy
  • Your rights as a participant in the trial
  • Any concerns you may have

Consent is an ongoing process during the trial. You will be informed about new benefits, risks or side effects that may be discovered during the trial. You may also be asked to sign a new consent form that identifies any updates to the study.

What if I still have questions?

We encourage you to contact one of our cancer research nurses by calling 603-653-3637 or email cancer.research.nurse@hitchcock.org. Our team will be happy to walk you through what it is like to be part of a clinical trial and can outline the measures that are in place to make sure trial participants are safe.

“Research done via cancer clinical trials improves patient care today and will also shape how we fight cancer tomorrow.”

Steven D. Leach, MD
Director, Dartmouth Cancer Center
Cancer Research Studies: An overview of types of research and how they are done.

Do you know someone who might be interested in joining a clinical trial?

Studies based on different cancer types and stages.

To learn more,
contact a cancer research nurse


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