What is Clinical Research? 

Clinical research is the way we learn how to prevent, diagnose and treat illness.

Simply put, clinical research involves human participants and helps translate lab research into new treatments, information, and opportunities for patients. Clinical trials in many different disciplines all fall under the clinical research umbrella.

Clinical Trials
A clinical trial is a type of clinical research study. A clinical trial is an experiment designed to answer specific questions about new treatments, or new applications of known treatments in patient care.

Clinical trials are conducted to determine whether new drugs or treatments are safe and effective.
From start to finish, clinical trials are long, careful processes, which can take many years to complete. First, doctors study a new treatment in the lab. Then they often study the treatment in animals. If a new treatment shows promise, doctors then test the treatment in people in clinical trials.

Clinical Research, Clinical Trials, and Medical Care
Clinical research or clinical trials are often confused with medical care. This concept can be especially puzzling if your doctor is also the researcher.  When a patient receives medical care from a doctor, the doctor develops a plan of care specific to you. When participating in clinical research, you and the researcher must follow a set plan called the “study protocol.”  Generally, the researcher can’t adjust this protocol – but the plan includes steps to follow if you aren’t doing well on the trial.

It’s important to understand that, by nature, a clinical trial is an experiment. This means the answer to the research question being investigated is still unknown. You might or might not benefit directly by participating in clinical research. It is important to discuss this concept with your doctor or the researcher.

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