U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Clinical Trials

​What are clinical trials?

photo of a doctor taking a patient’s blood pressure

Clinical trials are a part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Treatments might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments.  The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Clinical trials can also look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Learn more

Where can I find information about current clinical trials?

Information about clinical trials conducted by the NIH, the NIDDK, and other federal and private organizations can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov.  This site offers information about the location of clinical trials, their design and purpose, participation criteria, and additional information about the disease and treatment under study.

Who participates in clinical trials?

Many different types of people participate in clinical trials. Some are healthy, while others may have illnesses. A healthy volunteer is a person with no known significant health problems. A patient volunteer has a known health problem. Learn more

How can I participate in a clinical trial?

Find a clinical trial that’s right for you by searching ClinicalTrials.gov. If you are a healthy volunteer, contact the study coordinator listed for the clinical trial. If you are a patient volunteer talk with your doctor.  You may need a referral to participate in a study.

The following links provide information for volunteers enrolled in NIH studies in Phoenix, AZ and at the Metabolic Clinical Research Unit (MCRU) in Bethesda, MD.

How can I find a list of NIDDK clinical trials that are currently recruiting volunteers?