What is a Clinical Trial

Clinical trials are research studies that involve patients who meet certain criteria.

The goal of these studies is to find new and/or better ways to:

  • Prevent diseases (vaccines, diet & exercise, or a new use of an FDA-approved drug)
  • Diagnose and treat diseases
  • Manage diseases

There are many reasons why people take part in clinical trials, but most hope they may help themselves today and others in the future.

How Do Clinical Trials Work?

A clinical trial often starts with a scientific idea based on results of laboratory research. Most funding comes from the government’s National Institute of Health or from the pharmaceutical and device industries.

Together, doctors and researchers design the studies and how they will work. Clinical trials that test new drugs, devices or other treatments are done in phases. Each phase has a different purpose and helps researchers answer different questions. If a new drug or treatment does not seem promising in the early phases, the research can be stopped.