National Cancer Institute - U.S. National Institutes of Health - www.cancer.govSkip navigationNational Cancer Institute - U.S. National Institutes of Health - www.cancer.govClinical Trials at NIH - Be part of the cure
National Cancer Institute - U.S. National Institutes of Health -
Clinical Trials at NIH Home

How to Enroll

Before you begin your cancer treatment, it is important talk with your health care professionals about all available treatment options, including whether enrolling in a cancer clinical trial may be right for you.

NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR) conducts more than 150 cancer clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Cancer clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center are open to patients with cancer, regardless of where they live in the United States.

Patients are required to travel to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to participate in any of the clinical trials listed on this Web site.

To explore your options for enrolling in a clinical trial at NCI in Bethesda, Maryland:

  1. Search for clinical trials by using this Web site
  2. Talk to your doctor/health care professional
  3. Schedule a screening visit
  4. Decide whether to enroll

Step 1: Search for clinical trials by using this Web site

  • Click on the "Search for CCR Trials at NIH" link below
  • Make a selection from the Type of Cancer/Disease drop-down list
  • Click on the Search for Clinical Trials button; this will produce a listing of the clinical trials that are enrolling patients with the disease type you selected
  • Click on a trial’s title to view its summary, including its main eligibility requirements
  • Click on the "Print this page" link to get a print-ready version of the clinical trial summary

Search for CCR Trials at NIH

Step 2: Talk to your doctor/health care professional

We suggest that you review the information you receive on appropriate clinical trials with your doctor/health care professional. If you decide that you want to participate in a trial, your doctor/health care professional may want to contact the clinical trial’s principal investigator (doctor) to discuss your medical history and current health status, or you may wish to contact a member of the study team yourself.

Step 3: Schedule a screening visit

If it appears that you meet eligibility requirements, a research nurse or doctor in charge of the clinical trial will set up a screening visit for you at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The screening visit is very much like a consultation visit with a medical specialist. During the visit, you may be asked to have several common diagnostic tests such as blood tests, a chest X-ray, and an EKG. You will also have a chance to:

  • Meet and speak with the doctors, nurses, and social workers who make up the research team
  • Learn about the risks and benefits of the trial you are considering
  • Ask any questions about the trial

The purpose of the screening visit is to determine if you are a candidate for a particular trial. You can decide later whether you want to participate in the trial.

Before the screening visit, you will receive a packet of information containing:

  • Maps
  • Travel and hotel information
  • Instructions on the type of paperwork to bring to the screening visit (generally this includes copies of your medical and treatment summary, pathology reports, pathology slides, and radiology reports)

There is no charge for medical care received at the NIH Clinical Center. You will be responsible for travel costs for your initial screening visits. Once you are enrolled in a clinical trial, NCI will pay for the transportation costs for all subsequent trial-related visits if you do not live in the local area. In addition, you will receive a small per diem for food and lodging expenses if you are being treated as an outpatient.

It will be important for you to maintain your existing medical insurance plan to cover all medical care that is provided away from the NIH Clinical Center.

Step 4: Decide whether to enroll

You may want to discuss the trial with your doctor/health care professional, family, and friends. Consider:

  • Possible risks and benefits
  • How the clinical trial will affect your everyday life (for example, inpatient trials require you to stay at the NIH Clinical Center for at least a few days; outpatient trials allow you to receive treatment and leave the Clinical Center the same day)

If you decide to participate, you will be asked to sign a consent form that describes, among other things:

  • The clinical trial's treatment schedule
  • Possible benefits and side effects of participating in the clinical trial

Signing a consent form does not mean that you sign away any personal rights or protections. It simply means that you have read it and understand the purpose and elements of the clinical trial and that you are participating voluntarily.

You may withdraw from the clinical trial at any time. If you choose to leave the trial, you will have the opportunity to discuss other treatment options or concerns with the research team.

If you need further assistance: Call our toll-free number at 1-888-NCI-1937 (1-888-624-1937) to be connected to a referral coordinator appropriate for your diagnosis.

Back to Top
Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute