A new website designed to raise public awareness of clinical trials in the US and beyond has been launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research in the US.
The new website, NIH Clinical Research Trials and Me, was set up at www.nih.gov/health/clinicaltrials/index.htm “to help people learn more about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate”, the Institutes explained.
Research has shown that one of the biggest challenges in recruiting patients for clinical studies is lack of general knowledge about what this may involve, where trials are carried out and who may take part, the NIH added.
As such, the website includes basic information on clinical trials; first-hand accounts from study participants; explanations from clinical researchers; and links to sites where potential volunteers can search for available trials (the ClinicalTrials.gov registry, the online database of studies conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda) or enrol in a research-matching programme (the NIH-funded ResearchMatch initiative).
Also on the new site, healthcare professionals can read about evidence-based strategies for discussing trials with patients, print audience-tested posters to help promote studies in clinics and offices, or find other related educational materials.
“The ability to recruit the necessary number of volunteers is vital to carrying out clinical research that leads to health and medical advances,” commented NIH director Dr Francis Collins.