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Clinical trials

Clinical trials are clinical research studies or observations. Such prospective biomedical or behavioral research studies on humans are designed to answer specific questions about biomedical or behavioral interventions, including new treatments (such as novel vaccines, drugs, dietary choices, dietary supplements, and medical devices) as well as well-known interventions that merit further study and comparison. A clinical study is a research project that uses human volunteers (also known as participants) to further medical knowledge.

Clinical trials (also known as interventional studies) and observational studies are the two primary forms of clinical research.  Data on dose, safety, and efficacy come from clinical trials. They are only carried out after receiving clearance from a health authority or an ethical council in the nation where the therapy is being sought. These authorities are in charge of evaluating the trial’s risk/benefit ratio; their permission does not imply that the therapy is “safe” or “effective,” but only that it may be undertaken. Investigators first enroll volunteers or patients in short pilot trials, then perform larger scale comparison research, depending on the product type and development stage. Clinical trials might be small or large, involving a single research facility or many centers, and take place in one nation or multiple countries. The goal of clinical research design is to guarantee that the results are scientifically credible and reproducible.


Clinical trials for novel medicines are usually divided into five stages. Every stage of the medication approval procedure is considered its own clinical study. The drug development process often takes a decade or more to complete, with stages I–IV taking the longest. If a medication successfully completes stages I, II, and III, the national regulatory body will typically authorize it for use in the general public. After a newly authorized medication, diagnostic, or technology is commercialized, phase IV studies are conducted to examine risks, benefits, and optimum usage.

In a clinical trial, participants get particular treatments based on the investigators’ study strategy or procedure. Medical items, such as medicines or equipment, procedures, or changes in participants’ behavior, such as food, are examples of interventions. Clinical trials may compare a novel medical method to an existing standard, a placebo that has no active components, or no treatment at all. Some clinical studies compare treatments that are currently on the market.When a new product or technique is being researched, it is typically unclear if it will be beneficial, detrimental, or no different from existing options (including no intervention). By assessing specific outcomes in the participants, the researchers want to evaluate the intervention’s safety and efficacy. Investigators may, for example, offer a medication or therapy to participants with high blood pressure to see if their blood pressure drops.

Observational Studies

In an observational study, researchers evaluate the health outcomes of groups of people using a research plan or methodology. As part of their normal medical treatment, participants may get interventions (which might include medical goods such as medicines or devices), but the investigator does not allocate individuals to specific interventions (as in a clinical trial). Investigators may, for example, study a group of elderly people to learn more about the impact of various lifestyles on heart health.

Who Conducts Clinical Studies?

Every clinical trial is overseen by a primary investigator, who is usually a physician. A research team for clinical studies may comprise doctors, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare.

Where Are Clinical Studies Conducted?

Hospitals, colleges, physicians’ offices, and community clinics are all good places to conduct clinical trials. The study’s location is determined by who is conducting it.

How Long Do Clinical Studies Last?

The length of a clinical trial varies based on the research question. Before enrolling, participants are told how long the study would continue.

Reasons for Conducting Clinical Studies

Clinical studies are intended to contribute to medical knowledge on the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of illnesses or disorders in general. Clinical trials are commonly conducted for a variety of purposes, including:

Evaluating one or more methods for treating an illness, ailment, or condition (for example, medicines, medical devices, surgical procedures, or radiation therapy).

Finding strategies to avoid the onset of a disease or illness, as well as its recurrence. Medicines, vaccinations, and lifestyle modifications are just some of the options.

Taking a look at one or more treatments aimed at detecting or diagnosing a certain disease or condition.

Methods for detecting a disease or its risk factors are being investigated.

Exploring and evaluating strategies to improve the comfort and quality of life of persons with chronic illnesses by providing supportive care.

Participating in Clinical Studies

A clinical study is carried out pursuant to a protocol, which is a research strategy. The procedure is intended to address particular research questions while also protecting participants’ health. It includes the following details:

  • The reason for conducting the study
  • Who may participate in the study (the eligibility criteria)
  • The number of participants needed
  • The schedule of tests, procedures, or drugs and their dosages
  • The length of the study
  • What information will be gathered about the participants

Who Can Participate in a Clinical Study?

Clinical trials include guidelines that outline who is eligible to participate. These requirements are referred to as eligibility criteria, and they are specified in the protocol. Some research projects look for people who have the illnesses or disorders that will be investigated, while others look for healthy people, and yet others are confined to a preset group of people who are invited to participate by researchers. n Would you like to take part in a clinical trial?


Exclusion criteria are those that restrict someone from participating in a clinical study, whereas inclusion criteria allow them to do so. Age, gender, illness kind and stage, past treatment history, and other medical issues are all considered.

How Are Participants Protected?

Researchers utilize informed consent to give information about a clinical trial to potential and enrolled participants. This information aids participants in deciding whether or not they wish to participate in the study. The informed consent procedure is designed to safeguard participants by providing adequate information for them to comprehend the study’s risks, potential benefits, and alternatives. Recruitment materials, spoken instructions, question-and-answer sessions, and exercises to evaluate participant knowledge may all be part of the process, in addition to the informed consent declaration. Before participating in a study, a person must sign an informed consent statement to demonstrate that he or she has been provided and understands all of the risks, possible benefits, and alternatives. It is not a contract if you sign the document and provide your approval.

Relationship to Usual Health Care

While engaged in a clinical research, most participants continue to see their regular health care physicians. While most clinical trials offer participants with medical goods or therapies linked to the sickness or condition under investigation, they do not provide comprehensive or long-term health care. A participant can ensure that the study protocol will not interfere with any other drugs or treatments he or she is receiving by having his or her normal health care physician collaborate with the research team.

Considerations for Participation

Participating in a clinical trial helps to the advancement of medical science. The findings of these studies may have an impact on future patient care by revealing the advantages and dangers of therapeutic, preventive, or diagnostic goods or procedures.

Clinical trials provide the foundation for developing and selling novel medicines, biologics, and medical devices. At the time of the tria, the safety and effectiveness of the experimental technique or application may not be completely known.Some studies may provide participants the chance to get immediate medical advantages, while others do not. Most trials include some risk of damage or injury to the participant, however, it is usually not larger than the hazards associated with normal medical treatment or illness progression. (In IRB-approved studies, the IRB has determined that the risks of participation have been reduced and are justified in comparison to the expected benefits.) According to the research protocol, many studies need participants to undergo additional procedures, examinations, and evaluations. The informed consent document will detail these criteria.

Questions to Ask

Anyone interested in participating in a clinical trial should learn as much as they can about it and feel comfortable asking the research team questions about it, the procedures involved, and any costs. During such a discussion, the following questions may be useful. The informed consent paper has answers to some of these questions. Many of the questions are particular to clinical trials while some are applicable to observational research as well.

What is being studied?

  • Why do researchers believe the intervention being tested might be effective? Why might it not be effective? Has it been tested before?
  • What are the possible interventions that I might receive during the trial?
  • How will it be determined which interventions I receive (for example, by chance)?
  • Who will know which intervention I receive during the trial? Will I know? Will members of the research team know?
  • How do the possible risks, side effects, and benefits of this trial compare with those of my current treatment?
  • What will I have to do?
  • What tests and procedures are involved?
  • How often will I have to visit the hospital or clinic?
  • Will hospitalization be required?
  • How long will the study last?
  • Who will pay for my participation?
  • Will I be reimbursed for other expenses?
  • What type of long-term follow-up care is part of this trial?
  • If I benefit from the intervention, will I be allowed to continue receiving it after the trial ends?
  • Will results of the study be provided to me?
  • Who will oversee my medical care while I am participating in the trial?
  • What are my options if I am injured during the study?

Expert Guidance from Cancer Coach

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