Before you begin your cancer or HIV treatment, it is important to talk with your health care professionals about all available treatment options, including whether enrolling in a cancer or HIV clinical trial may be right for you.
NCI's Center for Cancer Research (CCR) conducts more than 150 cancer and HIV clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Cancer and HIV clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center are open to patients with cancer or HIV, regardless of where they live in the United States.
Patients are required to travel to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to participate in any of the clinical trials listed on this Web site.
Step 1Search for Clinical Trials by Using This Website
Step 2Talk to Your Doctor/Health Care Professional
We suggest that you review the information you receive on appropriate clinical trials with your doctor/health care professional. If you decide that you want to participate in a trial, your doctor/health care professional may want to contact the clinical trial's principal investigator (doctor) to discuss your medical history and current health status, or you may wish to contact a member of the study team yourself.
Step 3Schedule a Screening Visit
If it appears that you meet eligibility requirements, a research nurse or doctor in charge of the clinical trial will set up a screening visit for you at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The screening visit is very much like a consultation visit with a medical specialist. During the visit, you may be asked to have several common diagnostic tests such as blood tests, a chest X-ray, and an EKG. You will also have a chance to:
- Meet and speak with the doctors, nurses, and social workers who make up the research team
- Learn about the risks and benefits of the trial you are considering
- Ask any questions about the trial
The purpose of the screening visit is to determine if you are a candidate for a particular trial. You can decide later whether you want to participate in the trial.
Before the screening visit, you will receive a packet of information containing:
- Travel and hotel information
- Instructions on the type of paperwork to bring to the screening visit (generally this includes copies of your medical and treatment summary, pathology reports, pathology slides and radiology reports).
It will be important for you to maintain your existing medical insurance plan to cover all medical care that is provided away from the NIH Clinical Center.
Step 4Decide Whether to Enroll
You may want to discuss the trial with your doctor/health care professional, family, and friends. Consider:
- Possible risks and benefits
- How the clinical trial will affect your everyday life (for example, inpatient trials require you to stay at the NIH Clinical Center for at least a few days; outpatient trials allow you to receive treatment and leave the Clinical Center the same day)
If you decide to participate, you will be asked to sign a consent form that describes, among other things:
- The clinical trial's treatment schedule
- Possible benefits and side effects of participating in the clinical trial
Signing a consent form does not mean that you sign away any personal rights or protections. It simply means that you have read it and understand the purpose and elements of the clinical trial and that you are participating voluntarily.
You may withdraw from the clinical trial at any time. If you choose to leave the trial, you will have the opportunity to discuss other treatment options or concerns with the research team.