Have you ever wondered how medical professionals determine that a treatment is effective? Before state-of-the-art treatments are offered to the general public, they must be studied to ensure that they will be safe and helpful. Clinical trials play a critical role in this process. So you might wonder, what is a clinical trial?
What Is a Clinical Trial?
New medical treatments, like drugs, medical devices, and medical behavior change and tracking apps, must be rigorously tested before they can be prescribed by doctors and sold to the public. The process of conducting this rigorous testing in humans is called a clinical trial. So, what is a clinical trial? It is a research study involving human participants that aims to add to medical knowledge by evaluating a medical, surgical, or behavioral intervention.
Clinical trials are the primary method that researchers use to determine if a new treatment is safe and effective in people. They often compare cutting-edge treatments with established treatments, helping researchers answer questions like, “Is this new treatment more effective than the available alternatives?” and “Does this new treatment produce less harmful side effects than the standard treatment?”
Clinical trials are used to test all of the following and more:
- New drugs not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- New uses of FDA-approved drugs
- New forms of FDA-approved drugs (for example, a pill form)
- New electronic medical devices, such as pacemakers
- New medical behavior change and tracking apps
- Strategies designed to locate a disease earlier
- Methods of preventing health conditions
- Methods of improving the lives of people with chronic or life-threatening health conditions
- The role of caregivers and support groups in treatment
Clinical trials vary in many ways, for example, length of trial, required procedures, participation schedule, medical benefits, level of risk, etc. To ensure the protection of participants, all clinical trials must be approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) before they can begin. To obtain approval for a clinical trial, scientists must first conduct laboratory tests and animal studies to determine a dose range that is likely to be both safe and effective for testing in humans.
Why Participate in a Clinical Trial?
Most clinical trials may offer five primary benefits:
- Participants have access to new treatments that are otherwise unavailable to patients.
- The results of the treatment are carefully tracked, giving participants insight into their health.
- Most clinical trials may provide some form of compensation.
- Participation in a clinical trial contributes to the general body of medical knowledge.
- The results of a study can make an enormous difference in the lives of future patients, providing information about the benefits and risks of a particular product or intervention.
Major medical breakthroughs would not be possible without the assistance of clinical trial participants. Tests and treatments being studied in today’s clinical trials could become tomorrow’s standard of care.
Are you interested in taking part in a clinical trial? QPS Missouri is looking for new participants. Since opening its doors in 1994, QPS Missouri has conducted over 1,000 FDA-regulated studies, paying out over $35 million to local participants. Your local participation could have a global impact, as QPS is an international leader in contract research with facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia. Our mission is to accelerate the development of drugs worldwide by enabling breakthroughs in pharmaceutical innovation. If you would like to join us in this mission, consider applying for a clinical trial.
To get started, you simply need to fill out an online application. Within 48 business hours, a recruiting coordinator will contact you for your pre-screening assessment. To learn more, please visit the QPS Missouri website, review the study participation process, or check out our list of FAQ.