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Who Organizes a Clinical Trial?

Organizations or individuals looking for better treatments for cancer or new ways to prevent or detect cancer may sponsor clinical trials. Individual doctors at cancer centers or other medical institutions can also conduct trials.

  • The National Cancer Institute sponsors numerous clinical trials covering a variety of cancers.
  • Other sponsors include drug makers, technology companies and groups like the American Cancer Society.
  • Each trial has a person in charge, usually a doctor, who is called the protocol chair or principal investigator (also called the PI).
  • Before enrolling in a trial, ask whether the trial has been approved by an Institutional Review Board or IRB. IRBs exist at most hospitals to help safeguard patient rights.