This website is intended for an international audience, excluding the UK, United States, Canada and France
This website is intended for an international audience, excluding the UK, United States, Canada and France

Watch the video to learn more about clinical trials


What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a carefully planned study with human volunteers to find out if a treatment is safe and effective. This kind of scientific study is key to all medical advances, because it helps answer these questions:

  • Does the treatment work?
  • Does it work better than other treatments for the same condition?
  • Is it safe for different groups of patients?

Each clinical trial focuses on finding a better way to understand, prevent, diagnose, or treat a disease. All clinical trials are scrutinised by outside experts to make sure the health of the participants is safeguarded. In addition, different phases of trials must be carried out to track safety and efficacy before a new treatment is approved and made widely available.

“Most treatments we use today are available because others have volunteered to take part in them.”

What are the different kinds of clinical trials?

There are two types of clinical trials that people with NETs may be able to participate in: Interventional studies and observational studies. Both of these types of studies are important for increasing the understanding of diseases and their treatment.

The first is called an interventional study, which looks at a specific therapy or way of managing a condition (an intervention). These studies are an important part of figuring out what health effects are specifically caused by the treatment.

The second is called an observational study, which tracks the health of participants in a more natural or real-life setting by studying what people already do or how they are normally treated. These trials give scientists a more realistic idea of how a certain factor (such as a drug treatment) influences health, although observational studies cannot help determine causal relationships.

How are clinical trials performed?

There are four main steps or phases involved in clinical trials, which usually start by testing the safety of an experimental medicine or procedure in a small group of healthy people or patients before seeing if it works in the group of patients it is intended for.

These trials are only conducted after several years of rigorous assessment in the laboratory and in animal studies, and after appropriate approval from regulatory authorities such as the European Medicines Agency in Europe. If a drug is successful in one phase, researchers may continue to the next phase.

Phases of a clinical trial

What might a clinical trial show?

Usually, clinical trials aim to show both efficacy (how well a treatment works) and safety (what adverse events occur during the trial and that might be expected with treatment).

Safety is a priority in clinical trials, so researchers closely monitor for unwanted effects that could possibly be attributed to the treatment. These are also known as adverse events.

When it comes to efficacy, researchers can assess whether a treatment seems to affect a specific condition, and how well it works compared to other treatment options.

How are clinical trial results useful for healthcare professionals?

Almost all treatment decisions are based on the results of clinical trials in mind. When doctors and other healthcare professionals are deciding which treatment to recommend for a patient, they carefully consider the results of trials for the patient’s condition, alongside existing guidelines and treatments available and approved in the country.

This information helps the healthcare professionals to narrow down the treatment choices so they can recommend the treatment most likely to work given the therapies previously tested on similar individuals. Doctors continually update their knowledge by reading the published results of new clinical trials.

The results of clinical trials are often published in scientific journals. Both healthcare professionals and the public can search for the most up-to-date scientific publications using a database called PubMed. This is a free service provided by the US National Library of Medicine® and gives access to articles published in medical, nursing, dental, veterinary and other healthcare journals.

How are clinical trial results useful for patients?

After receiving a diagnosis, many people look up information about their condition to find out about different treatment options. Online, in particular, some sources of information are more reliable than others.

Clinical trials are one of the most objective indicators of how a treatment works, so trial results are the best way to assess the relative merits of different treatments for discussion with healthcare professionals.

Why do people participate in a clinical trial?

People participate in clinical trials for many reasons from simply wanting to help others and contribute to advancing medical knowledge to potentially being able to receive the latest treatment for a disease. Clinical trials are often a way to receive the latest treatments and approaches before they become widely available.

Finding the right patients for a study as efficiently as possible is key to clinical trial success. Volunteers are what makes it possible to test new treatments and make significant medical advances. All of the treatments that are available today, for all diseases, have been tested in clinical trials with volunteers. Without volunteers, there are no studies and there would never be new medicines.

How might I benefit from participating in a clinical trial?

How can I participate in a clinical trial?

If you would like to participate in a clinical trial, talk to a member of your healthcare team as they will be able to advise you on whether or not you would be able to do, and if there are trials in your area that you could join.

Your specialist NETs doctor or other member of your multidisciplinary team will also be able to talk you through exactly what would be involved in a clinical trial to make sure you fully understand what would happen if you agreed to participate.

Your national patient support group may also be able to guide you on where clinical trials in NETs are being conducted in your area. Cancer charities such as Cancer Research UK also provide information on clinical trials in cancer.

Where can I find more information?

The European Patients’ Academy

The European Patients’ Academy website contains publications you can read and download about clinical trial designs, analysing the results of clinical trials and assessing the value of clinical trial results.

The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation

The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation website contains information to help people decide on whether or not to participate in a clinical trial. The site contains frequently asked questions to help you learn about and what to consider before taking part in a trial.

The website was developed as a place to post details about clinical studies taking place all around the world.


FindMeCure help patients find and join clinical trials while supporting the industry to plan studies with the patient in mind.

Ipsen Clinical Trials

You can find out more about clinical trials on the Ipsen website. You can also search the database via the link given above for information about clinical studies that are investigating Ipsen therapies in NETs.


About NETs

Follow this topic

Rate this content

Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

Find out more about NETs

FAQs by experts


Have a question about NETs? See if it has been answered by one of our experts

View FAQs

NET patient support groups

NET Patient Support Groups

Patient support groups for NETs can often provide social and emotional support.

Find Patient Support Groups

Find support services in your area

Find a NET Clinic

View a list of specialist NET clinics and hospital units in Europe.

Find a NETs Clinic

Ipsen logo
This website is intended for an international audience, excluding the UK, United States, Canada and France. This website has been developed by Ipsen in collaboration with those living with NETs and the healthcare professionals who care for them. Ipsen would like to thank everyone for their valuable insights and stories. All names used on this website are not necessarily real names. Visit for more information about us. Website design and development by Kanga Health Ltd. ALL-ALL-002300/November 2020