What to Expect When You're a Clinical Trial Volunteer

By Marisa Sibley, MS, CCRC

Marisa is the Lead Clinical Research Coordinator at ClinPoint Trials, a clinical research site in Waxahachie. Learn more about ClinPoint and opportunities to participate in clinical trials at www.cptrials.com.

Originally published in the May/June 2018 Issue of Ellis County Living Magazine


The experience of participating in a clinical trial is often misunderstood. When I talk to people unfamiliar with clinical trials about participation, the first response I usually receive is, “You want me to be a guinea pig?” Being a human lab rat is the most common stereotype associated with participating in a clinical trial, unfortunately due to historical bad examples. Today clinical trials are highly regulated and monitored to assure that research is ethical and that the safety of the participant is protected to the fullest extent. So let’s clear the air. What is it really like to participate in a clinical trial?

Volunteering for a clinical trial will always start with informed consent. Informed consent is the process by which you learn the details about a clinical trial in order to make an informed decision about whether participating is right for you. We start with the informed consent document. This document provides an in-depth look at the purpose of the research study, information about the medication or product under investigation, the study procedures, your responsibilities as a volunteer, risks, benefits and more. The consent document is not a contract, but you must sign it to state that you have read and understand the information in order to participate in a clinical trial. Through the duration of a trial, you can ask questions to the Investigator (Doctor) and his/her study staff at any time. The important thing to remember is that your participation is voluntary, and you can choose to withdraw from the study at any time and for any reason.

Once you have agreed to participate in a clinical research study, you will be asked to come to the research clinic for a number of visits. Depending on the length of this study, this could be only a couple of visits up to several over a long period of time. At each visit, you will receive the study medication, laboratory tests (for example, HbA1c for Type 2 Diabetes studies), ECGs and vital sign assessments, and physical examinations/visits with the doctor at no cost. Participating in a research study may also involve keeping a diary or completing questionnaires about your health. Your health is followed very closely during a research study, perhaps in more depth than you would receive as standard care. Once a study is over, follow-up care is also provided. This may include alternative treatments that are available, learning more about your condition, and any other information about your participation in the study that may be available (for example, results of the trial).

At the end of the day, our thoughts and perceptions of clinical trials tend to stray far from the reality of what it is like to participate. Our physicians at ClinPoint Trials, Dr. Ledbetter, Dr. Pickens, Dr. Linguist and Dr. Haque, are passionate about seeing medicine advance and call on our community to learn more about how they can be involved in advancing medicine for the future generations. If you are interested in learning more about clinical trials or participation, contact or visit the ClinPoint Trials offices.


If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, you may qualify for a clinical research study.  Call the ClinPoint Trials offices at (972) 937-1640 for more information about upcoming studies for Type 2 Diabetes.

Post-Herpetic Neuralgia - Pain after Shingles (Closed)

Do you suffer from pain after shingles?

The symptoms of PHN (post-herpetic neuralgia) can be debilitating. The deep burning pain and extreme skin sensitivity can greatly impact the quality of your life. 

ClinPoint Trials is seeking individuals suffering with pain after shingles for a clinical research study.

You may be eligible to participate in this study if:

  • You are at least 18 years old

  • You are suffering with moderate to severe pain after shingles

Throughout the course of the study, your health will be closely monitored by the study team and the study doctor. Qualified participants will receive study-related physical exams, lab tests, and investigational study medication at no cost. Participation is voluntary.

Compensation may be provided for time and travel.

Contact us at (972) 937-1640 for more information.

From the Lab to Your Medicine Cabinet

Understanding Clinical Trials and the Purpose in Participation

By: Marisa Sibley

Originally published in the May/June 2017 issue of Ellis County LIVING Magazine


When I was a child, I struggled with asthma. To help my condition, my doctor gave me an inhaler that contained a preventative asthma medication. It was easy to use and it helped make physical activities easier for me. I was able to play my favorite sports without fearing I wouldn't be able to breathe. This helped give me a better quality of life as a child. I no longer struggle with asthma, but I am thankful that there was a treatment available to help my condition. 

For me it was an asthma medication and in inhaler. For some it may be insulin or a blood sugar monitor. For others it may simply be an over the counter medication for a common cold or a headache. 

All medications of medical devices available for use by the general population are so only because of individuals who were first willing to volunteer to participate in clinical trials. 

Clinical trials are research studies that seek to answer questions about medical treatments, medical devices or medical strategies. All medical treatments and devices start as ideas. Those ideas are then developed and tested in the laboratory. If the research on these new developments is promising and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves further research testing, then the idea may move forward into clinical trials with human volunteers. 

All potential treatments and devices are tested first in Phase 1 trials, which will only assess whether or not the products are safe for human use. If the products show to be generally safe, then the treatments or devices will continue into Phase 2 and 3 trials with larger numbers of volunteers. These trials continue to answer questions about safety, but also begin to assess how well a product works to improve patient outcomes, if it will benefit a patient, or if the product causes unexpected harm. The FDA monitors and reviews the research data on investigational treatments and devices very closely during all phases of clinical trials and can stop the trials at any time. 

After all trials are completed, the FDA may or may not decide to approve a new treatment or device. Only after FDA approval will these ideas turned treatments end up in our medicine cabinets. Research then continues on these treatments or devices after they enter the marketplace. 

There are many reasons why people choose to participate in clinical trials The top reasons include to advance medicine, to help improve the lives of others, to help improve their own medical condition or to supplement their own standard health care. 

If you choose to join a clinical trial, you can expect to first be thoroughly informed about the study, what the study is testing, information about study appointments and procedures, potential risks and benefits, and your role as a participant.The study doctor, also called an Investigator, will assess whether or not you would be eligible to participate in the study. your eligibility may depend on your medical history, medications you are taking, or other diagnostic tests or exams. 

Throughout the course of your participation in a trial, you can expect your health to be monitored very closely by the Investigator and the study team. This is done through a series of visits to the clinical research site before, during and after a study treatment or device is received or used. Since you are a volunteer, your study-related care is provided free of charge. You may also receive compensation for your time and travel. 

Had no one ever participated in clinical trials for asthma, I may not have had access to a medication that helped my condition improve as a child. Clinical trials are the gateway to advancing medical knowledge and patient care for generations to come. Whether you are a healthy person or have a chronic medical condition, you can help to move medicine forward through participation in a clinical trial. It is truly a gift that keeps on giving. 

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial in the future or would like more information, reach out to your local clinical research site to speak with a member of the study team about how you can get involved. 


Marisa is a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) at ClinPoint Trials, a clinical research site in Waxahachie. Learn more at www.cptrials.com. You can reach her at (972) 937-1640 or marisas@cptrials.com for more information.