UW Medicine | Valley Medical Center is pleased to support a clinical research program in order to provide access to clinical trials and research studies in our community. There are research opportunities in a variety of areas of study, including, but not limited to cancer, epilepsy, stroke, COVID-19. Please contact Research@ValleyMed.org with any questions or concerns.
A clinical study involves research using human volunteers (also called participants) that is intended to add to medical knowledge. There are two main types of clinical studies: clinical trials (also called interventional studies) and observational studies.
On average it takes 12 years to get a new drug from the laboratory onto the pharmacy shelf. Once a company develops a drug, it undergoes around three and a half years of laboratory testing before testing the drug in humans. Only about one in 1,000 of the compounds that enter laboratory testing will ever make it to human testing.
In a clinical trial, participants receive specific interventions according to the research plan or protocol. When a new product or approach is being studied, it is not usually known whether it will be helpful, harmful or no different than available alternatives (including no intervention). The researchers try to determine the safety and efficacy of the intervention by measuring certain outcomes in the participants.
Interventional clinical trials go through a series of phases:
In an observational study, researchers assess health outcomes in groups of participants according to a research plan or protocol. Participants may receive interventions (which can include medical products such as drugs or devices) or procedures as part of their routine medical care. However, participants are not assigned to specific interventions by the clinical trial). For example, researchers may observe a group of older adults to learn more about the effects of different lifestyles on cardiac health.
Each research informed consent document details the potential benefits of the specific study. In general, benefits of participating in a clinical trial may include:
Every clinical trial has a research team. The trial is led by a principal investigator, who is often a medical doctor. Clinical trials also have a research team that may include additional doctors, clinical research coordinators, medical assistants, nurses, social workers and other health care professionals.
Clinical trials can be sponsored, or funded, by:
The clinical trial sponsor is disclosed to all participants at the time of research informed consent.
The length of a clinical trial varies, depending on what is being studied. Participants are told how long the study is expected to last before deciding to participate.
Anyone interested in participating in a clinical trial should know as much as possible about the study and feel comfortable asking the research team questions about the study, the related procedures and any expenses. The following questions may be helpful during such a discussion. Answers to some of these questions are provided in the research informed consent document. Many of the questions are specific to clinical trials, but some also apply to observational studies.
You are always welcome to contact the UW Medicine | Valley Medical Center Research Department directly at Research@ValleyMed.org or 425.690.3503.
ClinicalTrials.gov | A service of the US National Institutes of Health
Cancer.gov | National Cancer Institute
Cancer.net | This site provides timely, comprehensive, oncologist-approved information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), with support from the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Cancer.net brings the expertise and resources of ASCO to people living with cancer and those who care for and about them to help patients and families make informed health care decisions.