- Clinical research and clinical trials facts
- What is clinical research?
- Why is clinical research important?
- What are clinical trials?
- What are the phases of a clinical trial?
- How can one find out what clinical trials are currently being conducted?
- How is a clinical trial performed, and what sort of preparation is needed?
- What is informed consent?
- Is patient privacy maintained in a clinical trial?
- Who can participate in a clinical trial?
- Are people paid for participating in clinical trials?
- What are the pros and cons of participating in a clinical trial?
- Can a person leave a clinical trial once it has started?
- Who sponsors clinical trials?
- What happens after a clinical trial is completed? Is there follow-up care?
What is clinical research?
Clinical research is a type of study of clinical or biomedical questions through the use of human subjects. Clinical research studies do not necessarily all involve medical treatments or experimental therapies. Clinical research can include observational studies, in which people are followed over a period of time to determine health outcomes. Clinical research may also be used to determine the usefulness or safety of a new diagnostic procedure or drug treatment. Clinical research studies are planned in advance and follow a defined protocol. Epidemiologic studies examine specific populations to clarify how often a disease occurs or is found in a given group (the incidence and prevalence), the individual factors that can cause or worsen disease progression, and the types of health and lifestyle decisions that people make. Clinical trials (see below) are one important type of clinical research.
Why is clinical research important?
Clinical research is important in order to develop new therapies and diagnostic procedures as well as to understand how diseases begin and progress. Observational studies may help identify risk factors for the development of a particular disease, such as the association between smoking and lung cancer. Outcomes-based research can help doctors identify the most effective therapies and treatments for a number of conditions. Another aspect of clinical research is the development of new technologies for use in health care, ranging from surgical tools and materials to hearing aids and artificial limbs. In cancer treatment, virtually all advances in the care of cancer patients has occurred as a result of clinical research.