What are Clinical Research Trials?

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Have you ever wondered how your prescription drugs made it from a laboratory to your medicine cabinet? Clinical research is an important part of the process of making sure a treatment, therapy, or procedure is safe and effective for people to use.

With clinical research, people volunteer to participate in carefully controlled medical investigations. These are often referred to as “clinical trials” or “clinical studies.” Each clinical trial is designed to discover whether there is a better way to treat, diagnose, understand or even prevent human disease.

What is involved in a clinical research trial?

A clinical trial is led by a principal investigator, often a doctor. He or she conducts the trial according to a protocol that is designed to protect the participant's’ health and answer specific research questions. Clinical trials are usually conducted to compare a new treatment with an existing one to determine if the new one is as effective or better than what is currently available.

How does a clinical research trial work?

To begin the process for a new medicine, doctors will first study it in the lab. Then, they might test the treatment on animals. If the treatment shows promise, the researchers will test it on people in a clinical trial.

The first phase of a clinical trial involves a small group of 20-80 people, in which researchers test the treatment’s safety and identify any side effects (if applicable). Next, they’ll move onto a larger group of 100-300 people and continue to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the treatment. In the third phase, the treatment will be tested on thousands of people. At this time, researchers will monitor the treatment’s side effects, compare it with other treatments, and collect other information that will make the treatment safe to use.

Who can participate in clinical research studies?

There are two types of people who can participate in clinical research: healthy volunteers and patient volunteers. A healthy volunteer has no significant health problems, and his or her primary role is to help researchers develop new knowledge about a drug, device, or intervention. A patient volunteer, on the other hand, has a known health problem and participates in clinical research to better understand, treat, or cure that condition.

Before a volunteer can participate in clinical research, he or she has to qualify. All clinical trials have their own inclusion/exclusion criteria that dictate who can join. Factors may include age, gender, stage of a disease, previous treatment history, and whether a person has other medical conditions. These criteria are used to keep participants healthy and safe while ensuring that researchers get the information they need from the clinical trial.

How so clinical research studies make a difference?

Clinical research is the only way that doctors can test the safety and effectiveness of drugs and therapies for the people who need them most. Through the help of healthy and patient volunteers, researchers are constantly working towards finding better ways to diagnose, prevent, and treat human disease and suffering.

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If you struggle with alcohol or drug addiction, please reach out for help. Clinical research is just one of many ways you can play an active role in your recovery. Not to mention, you’ll gain access to new treatments before they’re widely available and help others who are also suffering from dependency issues.

This is your chance – don’t wait another day. There are many resources available that can put you on a path towards a healthy, substance-free life. Give us a call at (858) 784-7867.