What is a Clinical Trial?

What is a Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials often represent the newest treatments and highest standards of care available.

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What is a Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. They may also provide information about the effect of certain therapies in specific populations, or sub-populations, of patients. Clinical trials produce the best data available for health care decision-making. In fact, every cancer drug used in clinical practice was proven in a clinical trial. Patients who participate in clinical trials stand to  benefit, not only from gaining access to  new treatments, but also  by contributing to the body of medical knowledge that advances  cures for different types of cancer.

Clinical Trials

How are Treatments Tested in Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials represent the final stages of the research process. The journey begins in a lab where scientists and researchers test new ideas. If the scientists discover a potentially promising treatment, they may initiate pre-clinical testing  on animals to ensure the safety of the treatment before testing in humans begins. In early-phase clinical trials, groups of patients are tested in safety studies to find out whether a new therapy has the potential to cause harm. During this stage, researchers also test dosing. In later phases, researchers become more focused on assessing the risks and benefits of the therapy  being tested.

When things go well,  clinical trial researchers may find that the new strategy or treatment being tested improves outcomes for patients.  Often, however, they may also determine that the treatment being tested is not effective or has too many side effects to be viable.  Regardless, all clinical trial results are important, because they further medical knowledge, paving the way for better care for future patients.