Who Conducts Clinical Trials and Who Pays for Them?

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Researchers conduct clinical trials in different settings. Many clinical trials are done at cancer centers because the facilities available are usually the most advanced. In the past, almost all clinical trials were done at cancer centers. Today, community hospitals and doctors offices also can be part of a clinical trial. This provides more options to people who decide to participate in a trial. Instead of driving to a distant cancer center and getting treatment from a doctor they don't know, people in clinical trials may be able to stay local and see their own doctor (as long as he or she is involved in the trial). The research team that conducts a clinical trial can include research scientists, doctors, nurses, social workers, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals.

In the United States, government agencies pay for a large portion of clinical trials on cancer treatments. The National Cancer Institute funds many clinical trials. Cancer cooperative groups, such as the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, are networks of doctors and clinical centers across the United States that focus on a particular aspect or type of cancer. These cancer cooperative groups also pay for clinical trials.

Clinical trials also can be funded by pharmaceutical companies and nonprofit organizations.

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