What is a Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials are medical research studies that aim to find better ways to prevent, screen, diagnose or treat a disease. It is important to remember that clinical trials are strictly voluntary and participants can withdraw at any time.

“Being on a clinical trial has offered me greater treatment options and I feel I am giving myself the best chance of a better outcome” – Jane

A clinical trial is a reliable and controlled way to research the effects of a treatment and to determine if a new treatment is more effective than the current standard treatment. A trial can also identify potential risks and side effects from a treatment. A new treatment will only become the new standard after it has been proved effective and safe in clinical trials, and shown to be better than other treatments. Participating in a clinical trial can involve both benefits and risks. However, if a treatment does prove to be effective, trial participants will be among the first to benefit.

Eligibility for acceptance onto a clinical trial can be restrictive as there are strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. You should talk to your treating clinician about your suitability for a clinical trial.

  • Taking an active role in your own health care
  • Access to new, potentially beneficial treatments that are not available to the public
  • Receiving a high standard of medical care and follow-up care at leading health care facilities during the trial
  • Knowing that you are helping others by contributing to medical research
  • Side effects or adverse reactions to medications or treatments
  • The treatment may not be effective for you
  • In placebo controlled trials you may be in the placebo group

Finding a Clinical Trial

Melanoma Institue Australia

MIA now has all of its clinical trials listed on its website, with a detailed summary of all trials presently open, by stage of disease.


Melanoma and Skin Cancer (MASC) Trials

MASC Trials brings together a powerful network of almost 2,000 professionals who represent the many disciplines critical to our work – oncologists, surgeons, radiation specialists, nurses, allied health professionals, health economists, statisticians, research scientists, clinical research associates, data managers, patient advocates, consumers and others.

With expert support from our Advisories and our trials staff, MASC Trials leads and designs research and clinical trial development, and provides project management for multicentre, national and international collaborations.

Monash University
553 St Kilda Road
Melbourne, VIC 3004
(03) 9903 9022

Cancer Trials Australia

Cancer Trials Australia is a clinical trial network that provides a fully comprehensive oncology clinical trial service.

Level 6 East, Main Building
The Royal Melbourne Hospital
Grattan Street
Parkville, VIC 3050 Australia
(03) 9342 7306

The Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry

The ANZCTR is an online register of clinical trials being undertaken in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. The ANZCTR includes trials from the full spectrum of therapeutic areas of pharmaceuticals, surgical procedures, preventative measures, lifestyle devices, treatment and rehabilitation strategies, and complementary therapies.

NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre
Locked Bag 77
Camperdown, NSW 1450 Australia
 61 2 9562 5333


Clinicaltrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world.