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Clinical Trials

Learn More About Clinical Trials

You've probably heard about clinical trials or research studies, but if you're like most people, you might not know much more than that.

Read the questions and answers below to get an overview of what research trials are and what they try to accomplish.

What are they?

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are medical research studies conducted to evaluate a new option for treatment, prevention or screening.


While they often involve new medicines, they might also test the effectiveness of new devices or therapies.


  • Before becoming the standard of care for a specific disease, many of today’s best clinical practices began as effective clinical research studies.
  • Clinical studies are designed to test a new treatment within a small group, and then use the knowledge gained, to achieve a breakthrough that will help many people.
  • Before any new treatment is tested in patients, investigators conduct studies in research labs to determine safe parameters that will increase the likelihood of success in a patient trial.

Who conducts them?

At University of Colorado Hospital and the University of Colorado Cancer Center, clinical trials are conducted by individual departments.


  • Our physicians are the scientists who lead the latest research and often apply new discoveries to their own patient care.
  • As practicing physicians, their informed input on a clinical trial leads to more efficient, practical research designed with patients in mind.

Why enroll in a clinical trial?

You may choose to participate in a clinical study for a variety of reasons - and participation may result in significant health benefits.


But there are risks involved with any experimental treatment. Be sure to learn about the study and ask questions before you commit to participating.


  • As a participant in a study, you can expect to be among the first to have access to promising drugs, medical devices or treatment options before the general public.
  • You will receive expert medical care at the region’s only academic medical center and our providers will closely monitor any side effects, tests or hospital stays throughout your study.
  • When you participate in a trial, you not only take a more active role in your own health care, you are advancing the scientific knowledge that will help countless others with a similar diagnosis.

How do I know if I qualify?

Qualification for a study can depend on any number of factors, including age, gender, type and stage of disease or previous medical history.


Our cancer and non-cancer trials typically display "participation criteria" or "inclusion criteria" for a particular trial.


Clinical trials inclusion criteria

If you have questions about participation criteria, please contact the coordinator for that clinical study.


The CU Cancer Center's research trials are often available at more than one hospital. Call the contact name listed on a specific trial to find out if it is offered at a facility other than University of Colorado Hospital.