What Are Clinical Trials?

Every day, scientists are making important strides in finding cures for deadly and chronic diseases. New treatment options are being discovered for really debilitating diseases. Families can stay together long, patients are healthy for longer, and people are recovering from these diseases thanks to these important strides. 

There are only one-way scientists can make these amazing strides and that’s through clinical research and trials. If you’re looking for clinical trial information, keep reading. I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about clinical trials and try to break the stigma surrounding them. 

Defining Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are scientific research studies that aim to learn more about diseases, treatments, and medical devices. These trials are performed on people who are struggling with some kind of medical problem and often test out the drugs and medical devices that aim to treat the medical condition and ease the patient’s suffering. 

Some clinical trials aim to find diseases earlier than their standard diagnosis time. Oftentimes, the earlier someone receives a diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death. For example, many times pancreatic cancer is diagnosed when the disease has already progressed too far for normal treatment to work. Clinical trials can help discover ways of early intervention so patients have a better chance at treatment. 

As you can see, there are many different types of clinical trials but they all have one thing in common. They look to better the lives and treatment of patients and create medical advances that can better humanity. And each clinical trial has gone through four stages before they come to market. 

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Take a look at this link for more information. https://www.who.int/health-topics/clinical-trials#tab=tab_1 

Phase One

When clinical research begins, they don’t just test out their new treatment, devices, or medication on the general public. That would make it hard for scientists to monitor the effects of their new, proposed treatment plan. It would also be insanely irresponsible. 

Phase one of clinical trials takes a small group of people, (less than 100 people), and tests out the safety and side effects of an experimental treatment. 

Phase Two

Phase two is the next phase in clinical trials. They use more people to test out their research. This number can be anywhere from 100 to 300 people. The goal of phase two is to learn the effectiveness of the experimental device, medication, or treatment. 

This trial aims to look at things like short-term side effects as well as how the treatment, device, or medication work on people with specific medical diseases or conditions. This usually lasts a long time, typically years so scientists can gather as much information as they can before the next phase. 

Phase Three

Phase three looks for more information on the safety and effectiveness by using a larger population, typically a few hundred people to a few thousand people, with different dosages (if testing drugs). In this phase, scientists and doctors hope for FDA approval for their device or drug. 

Phase Four 

This phase only happens after the drug or device has been approved by the FDA. It’s measured in a much larger, more diverse population. This way any additional side effects that may not have been present in the other trials can be made clearer. 

You Should Join a Clinical Trial 

Clinical trials are an effective way of learning about diseases and medical conditions. People who join clinical trials want to play an active role in their health and wellness. Others want to help prevent a certain disease that’s a common medical problem in their family. Typically, people just want to help find as much information about a disease that is close to their heart.   

In some cases, people join clinical trials because they’ve exhausted other treatment options for their particular disease. I have firsthand experience with this. 

My mother has Multiple Sclerosis which is difficult to manage. Many of the common medications used to treat her disease made her extremely sick and actually affected her liver. She didn’t have many options for her treatment until we discovered a clinical trial in her area that helped her. Because of her and patients like her who participated, the medication was FDA approved and is now accessible to others with Multiple Sclerosis.

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Clinical Trials are crucial for medical advancements. Medications and medical devices are tested for safety and effectiveness on several different population groups. They can help scientists learn more about diseases so they can better determine treatment options. 

Every trial has its own requirements for who can join. Some want healthy people to be a part of the clinical trials while other want people who are suffering from the disease they’re trying to treat. It all depends on which phase the trial is in. 

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