Medical Definition of Clinical trial

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Clinical trial: A study that is intended to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medications or medical devices by monitoring their effects on large groups of people. Studies may be conducted by government health agencies (such as the National Institutes of Health [NIH]), researchers affiliated with hospital or university medical programs, independent researchers, or individuals from private industry. Usually volunteers are recruited, although in some cases research participants may be paid. For some patients, clinical research trials represent an avenue for receiving promising new therapies that would not otherwise be available. Patients with difficult-to-treat or 'incurable' diseases may pursue participation in clinical research trials if standard therapies are not effective.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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