Clinical Trials: What They Are and How They Work

Clinical trials are research studies that use volunteers to test how well a new medical approach works. They are designed to find more efficient ways to prevent, treat, and diagnose medical conditions and diseases. Researchers follow strict guidelines when performing clinical trials which are set to protect participants as well as to provide accurate and reliable study results.

Each clinical trial starts with a protocol. This is basically an action plan for what will happen throughout the trial, why it is necessary, eligibility requirements of participants, and detailed information regarding the treatment plan.

To help ensure that participants are safe in clinical trials, most trials are reviewed and approved by an IRB (Institutional Review Board). The role of the IRB is to make sure the study is ethical, and that the risk-to-potential-benefit ratio is reasonable for participants.

In addition to the federal government, studies can be sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, academic medical centers, voluntary groups, and other individuals. The sponsor often determines the location of the trial, which may include a hospital or university. A medical doctor typically leads the study, along with a team of healthcare professionals. Depending on what is being studied, the study length may vary, but participants are informed of the time frame before enrollment.

Participating in a clinical trial can not only help to make a difference in the care of future patients, but can greatly impact your life or the life of a loved one. If a new treatment is a proven success, study participants are the first to benefit. Their health is closely monitored and study visits come without having to worry about co-pays or insurance deductibles. Further, participants in clinical trials often learn a great deal about their health, medical conditions and how to better manage their health. Most studies even offer compensation for time and travel expenses. Clinical Site Partners is currently enrolling for a number of research studies.