The Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy versus Stenting Trial (CREST) is a prospective, randomized, multicenter clinical trial of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) versus carotid artery stenting (CAS) as prevention for stroke in patients with symptomatic stenosis greater than or equal to 50%. CREST is sponsored by the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), with additional support by a device manufacturer, and will provide data to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for evaluation of a stent device. Because of budget constraints for CREST, Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) reimbursement for hospital costs incurred by CREST patients will be essential. The involvement of academic scientists, industry, and three separate government agencies (NIH, FDA, HCFA) has presented many challenges in conducting the trial. A review of the pathways followed to meet these challenges may be helpful to others seeking to facilitate sharing of the costs and burdens of conducting innovative clinical research.