What Are Clinical Trials?

WACT.gifClinical trials are scientific tests conducted on humans to check the safety and efficacy of new drugs and medical devices. Even after undergoing basic lab experiments and thorough animal testing, new medicines cannot yet be given to patients. Testing still needs to be performed on humans to confirm they are effective in treating specific illnesses without unacceptable side-effects.

There are still many diseases with no scientifically proven, effective, low-risk treatment. Clinical trials are a crucial stage in the research and development process that can bring such treatments to the patients who need them.

The future of medicine thus depends on the consent and cooperation of
willing volunteers.

Typical clinical trials are carried out for the purpose of:

· Measuring the safety and effectiveness of drugs, medical devices or other treatments
· Comparing novel treatments to existing treatments
· Assessing new methods for using approved treatments that can make them more effective, easier to use, or decrease side effects
· Identifying how best to use a treatment in a specific population (eg. in a particular ethnic group or in children)

For more information about clinical trials, check Dr. Furihata’s Q&A or links to other websites.