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August 13, 2021

Understanding Clinical Trials: The Basics

Clinical trials are medical research studies involving people who take part in testing the effectiveness, safety, and functionality of different treatments. They are usually managed by health care providers called investigators with study subjects known as participants or volunteers.

Clinical trials are generally voluntary, which implies that you cannot be forced to take part in a study. The decision to participate or not is personal and is informed by several factors. While some trials may need healthy participants, others may involve patients offered the choice to enter a program during the course of their treatment.

There are five types of clinical trials:

1.  Treatment trials

This type of trial studies new kinds of therapies and medications, as well as new ways of combining existing medications. They also test whether administering a treatment differently will reduce any side effects, or result in a breakthrough.

2. Prevention trials

As the name implies, this trial researches more effective ways of preventing diseases, be it through medicine or by behavioral and lifestyle changes.

3. Diagnostic trials

This form of clinical trial seeks to discover the most efficient ways of diagnosing diseases or identifying changes in the human body.

4. Natural History trials

What causes diseases in the human body? Where can the origin of these diseases be traced to? These are some of the questions addressed by natural history trials.

5. Quality of Life trials

This clinical trial is interested in ways to improve the quality of life for people living with certain conditions.

How to Participate in a Clinical Trial

Clinical studies have standards outlining who can participate. These standards are called eligibility criteria.

Eligibility is based on characteristics like age, gender, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions. Anyone interested in participating in a clinical study should know as much as possible about the study and feel comfortable asking the research team questions about the study. The following questions may be helpful during such a discussion.

  • What is being studied?
  • What are the possible interventions that I might receive during the trial?
  • 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?

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Why Participate in a Clinical Trial?

The core aim of every clinical trial is to discover the best ways to prevent diseases and reduce to the barest minimum, the number of people who fall ill. Clinical research also strives to improve the quality of life for people living with certain illnesses.

The results of a clinical trial are always made public so that others can refer to the information when making health care decisions. Aside from this, the results are also used as evidence in deciding whether a particular treatment will be made available through the NHS.

A clinical trial will be allowed to go ahead only when it has met the necessary conditions and has been approved by an independent ethics committee. Eligible study participants can receive study treatment and medications at no cost and may be eligible for additional compensation, including study stipends, expense reimbursements, and free transportation.

Carolina Clinical Research

CCR is a research center dedicated to advancing healthcare through ongoing, systematic clinical research trials. We specialize in clinical trials covering a variety of medical conditions, concentrating primarily on Pulmonary and Infectious Diseases.

See all our study areas and current trials.

For more information,  contact us.