Research Participants and Public

Are you or is someone you know thinking about participating in a clinical trial? Are you interested in finding out more about clinical trials?

Participation in a clinical trial (also called a research study) may be an option for a person with cancer or someone at risk for developing cancer. Before deciding whether a clinical trial is an option for you or someone you care about, it’s important to learn all you can.

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are research studies involving people. They test new ways to prevent, detect, treat or manage cancer or other diseases. Clinical trials test whether new approaches are safe and how well they work to see if they should become widely available. Most of the standard cancer treatments used today were first tested in clinical trials, thanks to innovative researchers and to people who volunteered to take part in clinical trials.

How do I find out more?

The Canadian Network of Networks (N2) has developed excellent information about clinical trials, including a video and examples of questions to ask before deciding whether or not to participate in a trial. N2 is a not-for-profit organization that is collaborating with the research community to promote excellence in clinical trials in Canada. N2 has been working together with patients and caregivers to develop information that will help potential participants, families, caregivers and the general public to learn about clinical trials. For more information, visit N2 – It Starts with Me.

The Canadian Cancer Society also provides a wealth of information about cancer and clinical trials. Visit their website at Canadian Cancer Society – Clinical Trials.

The Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (PRE or the Panel) manages the ethics policy of Canada’s research agencies. The policy is called the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, or TCPS 2. PRE has developed The TCPS 2 Tutorial Course on Research Ethics (CORE) to assist people who are participating in research or are considering joining a research study. A brochure “Taking Part in Research” provides basic information about participation in research. “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Participants” provides more specific information on topics such as privacy, risks and benefits, and consent. These materials provide information about how the ethics guidance in the TCPS2 provides protection for research participants.

How do I find a clinical trial?

  • To search for cancer clinical trials in Canada or near you, visit
  • To search for publicly and privately supported clinical studies conducted in the U.S. and around the world, visit

If I am participating in a clinical trial, whom do I contact with questions or concerns about the trial?

  • For specific questions about the clinical trial, please call the study staff using the number provided in the study consent form.
  • If you have questions, concerns about your rights as a participant, complaints or comments, the consent form includes information about how to contact the research ethics board (REB) that reviewed the study.

How can I learn more about ethics boards and research studies?

  • If you would like to talk about with someone about the role of the research ethics board, please contact OCREB at 416-673-6649 or toll-free at 1-866-678-6427 Ext 6649.