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Clinical Studies and Research

Research at JFK Medical Center

About Research at JFK Medical Center

JFK Medical Center is a participant in CISRP an independent non-profit organization founded for the purpose of educating the public, patients, medical/research communities, media and policy makers in order to promote greater understanding and awareness of clinical research participation and the role it plays in public health.

At some point in our lives, there is great probability that you, or a loved one, will be affected by an acute or chronic illness. Clinical studies – the gold standard for testing promising new strategies for preventing, diagnosing and treating such illnesses – are thoughtfully designed and administered by JFK's research team in an effort to answer specific medical questions. You no longer need to leave your community to find clinical studies appropriate for you.

For more information, call (877) MED-HERO or visit JFK is also affiliated with the WESTERN IRB, who is registered with the federal government and provides review and approval of clinical studies performed at JFK. For more information, visit

The JFK Medical Center Research Department conducts the following five types of clinical trials:

  • Treatment Trials – test experimental treatments, new combinations of drugs, devices or test new approaches
  • Prevention Trials – test new approaches to prevent disease or to prevent a disease from returning. Can include medicines, vaccines, vitamins, minerals or lifestyle changes
  • Diagnostic Trials – conducted to find better tests or procedures for diagnosing a particular disease or condition
  • Screening Trials – test the best way to detect certain diseases or health conditions earlier
  • Quality of Life Trials – explore ways to improve comfort and the quality of life for individuals with a chronic illness

JFKMC has been involved in clinical trials since 1993, since this time there have been well over 300 trials conducted in the facility.

The trials that we participate in predominantly require a hospitalization for the disease being studied and while you are here your physician determines if there is a study that would enhance your care.

For Oncology needs, we have many trials to choose from, to ensure your specific needs are met.

Current Trials:

Many of our physicians on staff are involved in research and clinical trials on an outpatient basis in their private practices. The research department can assist you in finding a trial that is appropriate for your situation.

What are Clinical Trials (Studies)?

A clinical trial is a research study involving human volunteers, in an effort to answer specific health questions. Clinical trials are the safest and fastest way to find effective treatments and new ways to improve health.

Clinical trials are conducted according to a plan called a protocol. A protocol describes what types of patients may enter the study, schedules of tests and procedures, drugs and devices, dosages, length of study, as well as outcomes to be measured. Each person participating in the study must agree to follow the protocol.

Why We Conduct Clinical Trials

Many of the standard treatments and therapies today are based on previous clinical studies. Clinical studies are performed to establish evidence based medicine.

Protocols Test

  • To see if a new drug or device is safe and effective
  • To determine which existing treatments are best
  • To study different ways to use standard (approved) treatments, so they will be more effective, easier to use, and/or decrease side effects
  • To learn how to use the treatment in a different population, such as children, in whom the treatment was not previously tested

Phases of a Clinical Trial

Most clinical research that involves the testing of a new drug progresses in an orderly series of steps, called phases. This allows researchers to ask and answer questions in a way that results in reliable information about the drug and protects the patients.

Clinical trials are usually classified into one of three phases:

  • Phase I Trials: These first studies in people evaluate how a new drug should be given (by mouth, injected into the blood, or injected into the muscle), how often, and what dose is safe. A phase I trial usually enrolls only a small number of patients, sometimes as few as a dozen.
  • Phase II Trials: A phase II trial continues to test the safety of the drug, and begins to evaluate how well the new drug works. Phase II studies usually focus on a particular disease.
  • Phase III Trials: These studies test a new drug, a new combination of drugs, or a new surgical procedure in comparison to the current standard. A participant will usually be assigned to the standard group or the new group at random (called randomization). Phase III trials often enroll large numbers of people and may be conducted at many doctors' offices, and clinics nationwide.
  • Phase IV trials: Phase IV trials are also known as Post Marketing Surveillance Trials. They involve the safety surveillance and ongoing technical support of a drug after it receives permission to be sold. The safety surveillance is designed to detect any rare or long-term adverse effects over a much larger patient population and longer time period than was possible during the Phase I-III clinical trials.


Each study follows specific guidelines for who can participate. Generally, participants are alike in key ways – such as the type of disease, age, gender and other factors.


Information about you and your participation in a research study will be kept as confidential as possible. Information will be given only to those who have permission to see your records. This may include the group sponsoring the study and those who make sure the study is safe and carried our according to the research plan. Some studies are reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You will sign a study consent allowing the researchers access to your data.

Researchers review and analyze data collected during the study. Results of the studies are sometimes published in medical journals, but your identity will not be revealed.

Why You Should Participate

Participation in clinical trials is completely voluntary – it is up to the discretion of each patient to determine if participation is a viable option for his or her unique situation. Learn more about the benefits and risks of participation:

Possible Benefits

  • Gain access to potentially new research treatments
  • Receive expert medical care for the condition being studies, since investigators (physicians) are often specialists in the disease being studied
  • Help others by contributing to medical research and treatment advances

Possible Risks

  • There may be unpleasant, serious, or even life-threatening side effects resulting from treatment
  • The treatment may not be effective
  • Participation in the trial may be demanding and time consuming


Many safeguards are in place to make clinical trials as safe as possible and protect patients. Therapies are carefully studied in the lab long before a human being ever receives a new therapy. Any clinical trial involving people must be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is made up of doctors from different specialties, ethicists, administrators, and members of the public. An IRB is required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the protection of the rights and welfare of patients who are enrolled in clinical trials.

Choosing to Participate

It is always your choice to participate without affecting your standard care. In turn, you may change your mind at any time for any reason, once you area in a study.

Informed Consent

Informed consent is a process of learning the important facts about the clinical trial to help people decide whether to participate. After learning about the study, participants will be able to ask the researcher or his/her research staff questions. People should only agree to take part in a study if they clearly understand the study and feel comfortable. If they agree to take part in the study, they will be asked to read and sign an "informed consent form". Signing the form does not require patients to stay in the study.