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Our frequently asked questions are grouped under the following topics; questions about trials and questions about the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL.

Questions about trials

Which studies offer payment?

The MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL rarely recruits healthy volunteers for studies. Almost all of our studies involve people who have a particular illness – for example cancer or HIV.

If you're healthy and are interested in taking part in a clinical trial, please take a look at the Help Make History website.


What is a clinical trial?

See our section on What is a clinical trial?


How do I know if a trial is safe?

See our section on How do we make sure a trial is safe?


How can I find a trial to take part in?

See our section on How can you take part in a trial?


Who can I contact for more information about a study?

If you want to find out more about a MRC Clinical Trials Unit study there is an email address within each study page. For other studies, you may need to ask your doctor. Read more about finding a trial that's relevant to you.


What is informed consent?

Read about informed consent in our Glossary.


What if I get sicker while I am taking part in a trial?

When you're taking part in a trial, your health will be monitored closely. If you get sicker, your doctor may decide it’s best for you to withdraw from the trial, and he or she will talk with you about this. Or you may decide you don't want to be part of the trial any more. It is fine for you to decide to withdraw from the trial.


Is my participation in a trial kept confidential?

Confidentiality of patient data is very important in clinical trials. In a trial, all medical records are confidential. This information is kept securely, and only a very limited number of people have access to it. Participants’ names, or details that could help others identify individual participants, are not used in any reports about the trial.

For more information, see our section on How do we make sure a trial is safe?


What will happen if I decide that I no longer want to be part of a trial?

If you agree to join a trial and you're not happy about the way it is going, you can leave the trial at any point without having to give a reason and without it affecting your health care.


Do people ever receive placebos instead of treatment?

Sometimes a placebo may be used in a trial. You will be made aware of whether this is a possibility before you decide if you want to participate in the trial. Read about placebos in our Glossary.


What happens after the trial is over?

See our section on What happens at the end of a trial?


Can I still receive care from my own doctor when I’m taking part in a trial?

Yes. It is important you go to the doctor in the same way you would normally when you take part in a clinical trial. You may be asked to go for extra tests too.


Why should I take part in a trial?

Taking part in a trial may benefit you personally. For example, you may get access to a better treatment before other people do. And your health will be closely monitored. But it’s much more likely that taking part in a trial will benefit other people in the future. For example, in cancer care, trials have been used to try out new treatments – radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery and complementary therapies. Trials have also been used to find out the best ways of using these treatments. The results of previous clinical trials mean that people with illnesses like cancer and HIV now live longer and have a better quality of life.


Questions about the MRC Clinical Trials Unit

What areas of research does the MRC Clinical Trials Unit cover?

We specialise in research in cancer, HIV and tuberculosis. We also undertake research in other areas, including rheumatoid arthritis, overdose management and drug resistance. We plan and run clinical trials, and we bring together the results of a number of trials which look at the same illness or condition (this is called systematic review or meta-analysis). We also undertake observational studies. Find out more in our section on research areas.


I am a healthy volunteer and would like to participate in your trials

At the CTU we run trials of treatments for people with a particular illness or condition (e.g. cancer or HIV). We do not recruit healthy volunteers.

If you're healthy and are interested in taking part in a clinical trial, please take a look at the Help Make History website.


I am interested in working at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit, do you have any vacancies?

Jobs at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit are advertised on our vacancies page


I am a member of the press and would like further information about the MRC Clinical Trials Unit

All press queries are dealt with in the first instance by the MRC and UCL Press Offices.

The MRC Press Office is available 24 hours a day to answer questions from journalists about recent MRC CTU news or issues relating to medical research. Direct line: +44 (0)20 7637 6011. Out of office hours number: +44 (0)7818 428297. Email: press.office@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk.

The UCL Press Office Direct Line is +44 (0) 20 3108 3844. Out of office hours number: +44 (0)7917 271364. Email: h.dayantis@ucl.ac.uk.


I am looking for a specific email address but I can't find one

If you know the name of the person you would like to email, you could search for their contact details on the UCL IRIS database, otherwise you can email enquiries@ctu.mrc.ac.uk


I am looking for a specific telephone number but I can't find it

We do not publish the telephone numbers of members of staff on the website. Please use our central telephone number: +44 (0)20 7670 4700.


I'm coming to the MRC Clinical Trials Unit for a meeting and would like more information about parking

For more information regarding the availability of parking spaces, please contact mrcctu.reception@ucl.ac.uk.


I'm coming to the MRC Clinical Trials Unit and I'm looking for accommodation nearby. Can you recommend anywhere?

There are many hotels within a few minutes walk of the MRC Clinical Trials Unit to suit people with different budgets.  These include:


I want to an MSc/PhD and am looking for funding

See our section on PhD opportunities and studentships.


I came to a meeting at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit and I want to reclaim my travel expenses. How do I do it?

You should contact the person from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit who invited you to the meeting and ask for an expenses claim form. You will need receipts for your journeys. 

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