The ultimate goal of clinical trials is to find a cure for all diseases. From these trials, new ways to detect, prevent, and treat these diseases are discovered. Clinical trials play a critical role in the future of medicine. In this blog, we will review what clinical trials are and the role they play in future treatment options.
What is a Clinical Trial?
Once a new health intervention is discovered, it goes through a series of lengthy tests (called pre-clinical trials) in the lab. If the treatment is deemed safe and effective, it is then tested on humans. This is called a clinical trial. Discovering how a treatment of device interacts with the human body is a critical step in the process.
Volunteers are selected based on research criteria and experts who administer the clinical trial help record and gather data on the treatment interactions. This data is logged, and determinations are made to prove that the medication or device is as good as, or better than, currently available options.
Clinical trials are conducted in four phases. Each phase is responsible for determining specific goals. The phases of clinical trial are:
- Phase I – (20-80 participants) – Determines safety, effectiveness, dose range, side effects, and how the body processes the treatment.
- Phase II – (100-300 participants) – Determines the safety, and if the treatment has the intended effects on humans.
- Phase III – (thousands) – Determines safety, effectiveness, side effects, and compares the treatment to commonly used products.
- Phase IV – (post-market surveillance trials) – Involves people in various populations and is intended to collect additional information after the investigational treatment is approved and marketed to the public regarding its risks, benefits, and use in multiple populations over a more extended period.
Why Clinical Trials Play a Critical Role in the Future of Medicine
With so many current treatments available, you may think “Why are more treatments needed”? The answer is simple. There are many conditions that exist today that lack a specific treatment or therapy.. These conditions are typically managed by treating symptoms and making lifestyle changes. There are many people diagnosed with illnesses that cannot benefit from current treatments due to certain pre-existing medical conditions, or the inability to take those treatments.
Clinical trials provide opportunities for these individuals. Clinical trials are the future of medicine, because without them, there would be no way to tell if a medication or device is effective and safe.
Volunteers and Clinical Trials
Participating in a clinical trial provides researchers with valuable information on new treatments; in some cases, it can also mean the possibility for a cure or improvement in a patient’s quality of life that’s not available with standard therapy. Your participation is entirely voluntary, and you can discontinue the trial at any time.