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Clinical trials for adults: Changing lives for the better

Participation in a clinical trial at UW Health could be an extension of your health care. You can help advance the effort to learn more about a disease, effective treatments and possible preventions. Get started.

Clinical trials at UW Health

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Clinical trials at UW Health are research studies involving volunteers like you, led by a team of our medical professionals. That team is dedicated to safely exploring treatments or ways to prevent disease. A clinical trial might be trying to find a new drug for cancer or heart disease while another might be assessing how to prevent the frequency of asthma attacks.

Clinical trials truly are only possible because of volunteers. Some people volunteer because they have a life-threatening illness or a health problem, and the trial may give them access to new treatments before widely available. Some healthy people volunteer because they have a family history of disease and want to prevent it for themselves and others. UW Health also offers clinical trials for pediatric patients.

Clinical trials are conducted with strict federal guidelines focusing on safety for volunteers. Sometimes the outcomes of trials don’t lead to the expected results. However, the process and discovery can lead to new research directions, which can ultimately translate to benefits. Participating in a clinical trial is voluntary and you can stop taking part at any time, for any reason.

UW Health is proud to provide its patients access to clinical trials.


What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials move through several phases. You may hear trials referred to by these phases. Each phase of the trials is designed to gather different information about a drug or a treatment. Central to each phase, is patient safety.

  • Phase I

    This phase focuses on examining a drug or treatment looking at its dosage usage and any side effects.

    • Typically involves between 1-50 people

    • UW Health is one of a select few places in the country able to offer Phase I trials as part of your treatment.

  • Phase II

    This phase builds on the learning of Phase 1 and focuses on the effectiveness of the drug or treatment while continuing to monitor safety.

    • The trial expands to include more volunteers, around 100-300 people.

    • UW Health has many active Phase II Trials

  • Phase III

    In this phase, the trial is expanded to large groups of volunteers. The trial continues to monitor effectiveness in this larger population, monitoring side effects and can be compared to other standard or similar treatments.

    • The trial is typically offered nationwide, to groups ranging from 1000 and up

    • UW Health has many Phase III Trials

  • Phase IV

    In this phase, the drug or treatment has typically been approved for usage by the Federal Drug Administration, (FDA) having completed the full clinical trial process.

    Now available to the public, researchers track its usage and safety in the broader population.

Trials in action

Patient stories

Donald Krause of Neenah was the first patient in the US to take part in an investigational cell therapy clinical trial for his debilitating heart condition. He volunteered after suffering for years and after all other therapies did not resolve his symptoms.

Cancer clinical trials

UW Health | Carbone Cancer Center

With more than 200 clinical trials available at UW Health | Carbone Cancer Center, our patients are often among the first in the world with access to promising new treatments.

Get started by contacting the UW Health | Carbone Cancer Center referral line at (608) 262-5223.

Clinical trials are not a last resort. They are developed for people with all stages and types of cancer. Consider contacting us so we can explore the current trials that might be right for you.

View clinical trials available at UW Health

Find a clinical trial