What are Clinical Trials, and How Do They Work?

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Written By Charlotte Miller

What are Clinical Trials, and How Do They Work?

Clinical trials are something that the public doesn’t know a lot about; however, in recent years, steps have been taken to release information to give more transparency and trust between participants and those conducting the studies. Nowadays, you can see everything about a clinical trial, including what is being studied, the method as well as how data is captured using specialized data capture software. If you are interested in exactly what a clinical study is, then keep reading below as we discuss everything from who conducts these clinical trials to where they usually take place.

What is a Clinical Study?

First of all, what is a clinical study? A Clinical study is done to do research that involves participants in order to increase the medical knowledge around the area being studied. You should be aware that there are two types of clinical studies that can be done. The first one is known as a clinical trial and the second one is an observational study. We will be focusing on providing information about clinical trials.

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Clinical Trials

During clinical trials, volunteers will be given what is known as an intervention which forms part of the plan for research that has been made by those conducting the study. An intervention can be anything from a medical drug or device to a product. It could also be something like altering the volunteer’s behavior, for example, changing their diet and recording the results. These interventions are usually compared with a placebo or against someone that doesn’t use the intervention to assess the impact and effectiveness of the intervention. The outcomes often measured in clinical trials include the efficacy of the intervention, how safe it is, and whether or not it is better than whatever has been used before. 

Who Performs Clinical Studies?

During a clinical trial, there will be someone, usually a doctor, with a medical degree, who will act as the principal investigator. Behind the principal investigator, there is typically a team of researchers made up of people from all different backgrounds. These researches will be a mixture of nurses, doctors, different healthcare professionals as well as social workers. 

A lot of clinical trials are funded by organizations such as pharmaceutical companies, voluntary groups as well as academic centers. Other sponsors of clinical trials have been federal agencies. Individuals are also capable of providing funding for a clinical trial to take place, and healthcare providers and doctors often do this.  

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What are the locations for Clinical trials?

There are several places where clinical trials can take place. Some of the most common places include universities, hospitals, community clinics, and doctor’s offices. The location of a clinical trial usually depends on who is actually conducting the trial. 

How much time do Clinical Trials Take?

The length of a clinical trial varies between different studies, and it is usually determined by what exactly is being studied. Fortunately, the volunteers choosing to participate in the clinical trial are told how long they can expect it to last, so they know what they are getting into before they begin the trial. 

Reasons for Conducting Clinical Studies

Clinical trials are extremely important for progressing medical knowledge with the goal of improving the ability to provide the best healthcare to people. This medical knowledge relates to fields including diagnosis, treatment, conditions, and the prevention of diseases. 

Some examples of how these fields are investigated include comparing the effectiveness of a new drug as a treatment for a disease or pathology and comparing it with an old drug. Another example would be assessing the efficacy of a new procedure in diagnosing a problem to improve the detection of a pathology early so the prognosis is better for patients. These clinical trials are crucial for improving the quality of healthcare that people get and are essential for the progression of medical knowledge around the world.

Who can Participate in a Clinical Study?

Each clinical trial will have particular requirements for the type of person that is eligible to participate. For example, a clinical trial may require participants to have a certain illness or disease so a new drug can be assessed as a new treatment option. There are also clinical trials that require healthy participants with no existing conditions. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, remember to do your research and check if you are eligible to be included in it.