There are many things to think about before deciding to take part in a research study. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions.

  • How is research different from regular medical care?

    Taking part in research can look a lot like the regular medical care your child receives at a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. Sometimes doctors also do research. It is important to talk with your doctor and the research team about the differences between the research and your child’s regular medical care.

    In medical care, the doctor or your care team develops a plan of care tailored for your child.

    When your child takes part in a study, the research team follows a set plan called a study protocol. The goal of research is to add to medical knowledge that might lead to improved treatments for children in the future. Your child might or might not benefit directly from being in a research study.

    Learn more on the How to Participate in a Research Study page.

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  • Who conducts research studies?

    Every study has a lead researcher called a principal investigator (PI), who is often a medical doctor. They oversee the research study. Some studies also have a research team that might include doctors, nurses, social workers, research coordinators and other healthcare professionals. The PI and research team closely monitor a participant’s health throughout the study.
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  • Are there risks to participating in a study?

    Safety is our main priority at Seattle Children’s. All studies follow strict regulations and guidelines:

    • Studies must be approved by an institutional review board (IRB).
    • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve the design of a study before any new medicine, treatment or device is tested with people.

    Before your child joins a study, the research team will explain any risks of participating. The potential risks and potential benefits are listed on the consent and assent documents that you and your child will review with someone from the research team before joining a study.

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  • What if we decide to take part and then change our minds?

    Being in a study is voluntary. Your child can stop participating in a study at any time without it affecting your regular medical care at Seattle Children’s.

    You might be asked to fill out a survey to share why you decided to stop taking part in the study. Filling out the survey is voluntary.

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  • Does my child still see their regular doctor while in a study?

    Yes. Your child will go to any scheduled medical appointments while in a study.

    It’s important to tell your child’s doctor that your child is in a research study. Ask your doctor to talk with the researcher team to make sure there is no conflict with the medicines or treatments your child is currently taking.

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  • Where can we find information about studies at Seattle Children’s?

    You can find a list of studies on the Current Research Studies page. If a study is of interest to you, contact the person listed to find out more information. They can help you determine if your child is a good fit for a particular study.
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