A clinical trial is research that involves voluntary human participants, with the intended outcome of gaining medical knowledge. These research studies may look at ways to prevent, detect, and/or diagnosis diseases. Studies may be merely observational or have an interventional approach.
Clinical trials may compare new medical approaches to standard of care treatments (meaning treatments that have been proven effective in treating certain diseases), to placebo medication (meaning medication with no active ingredients), or to no intervention, depending on the diagnosis and stage of disease.
The investigators of the trial try to determine the safety and effectiveness of the interventions by measuring certain outcomes in the participants, as it is not known whether a new approach will be helpful, harmful, or offer no benefit at all.
Clinical trials are offered in four phases. Each phase offers new information about the treatment being studied, from determining safe dosing and side effect profile, to the effectiveness of the treatment in the disease being studied.