Where do clinical trial volunteers come from?People learn about clinical trials in different ways. Sometimes, patients are referred by their primary care doctor or oncologist. Some trial volunteers are cancer patients who want to try experimental drugs or treatments that aren't yet on the market. These patients often find information about a clinical trial on the Internet and may travel long distances to participate. Clinical trials are not available everywhere. Most are located at major medical centers with a national reputation for quality clinical research programs, like the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Are there enough people volunteering for clinical trials?There is a nationwide shortage of clinical trial volunteers, especially among racial and ethnic minority groups. Whether you get cancer and how well you respond to treatment is determined, in part, by the genes you inherited from your mother and father. So, it's important to have people with a wide range of genetic backgrounds enrolled in clinical trials, because experimental treatments can work differently in people from different ethnic or racial groups. Certain types of cancer are more common in Black and Hispanic Americans, so it's especially important to have more Black and Hispanic volunteers enrolled in clinical trials.