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Frequently asked questions

What is a clinical study?

Clinical studies explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans.

A clinical study involves research using human volunteers and is intended to increase medical knowledge and help improve future medical care.

Why is clinical research important?

Clinical research adds to medical knowledge and helps bring new treatments to people with medical conditions. In order to make new treatments available to the public they need be studied in clinical trials.

Clinical trials rely on the participation of volunteers in order to succeed. On average, it can take up to 8 years for a new treatment to reach the public, the major hold-up being how long it takes to complete the clinical trials (often due to shortage of participants).

All currently available treatments and drugs have gone through clinical trials to make sure that they are safe for people in medicine and health care.

What does it mean to participate?

Participating in a clinical trial typically involves taking tests to ensure eligibility, examinations, testing of the new drug or treatment and visits to a clinic for follow-up and examinations.

Before taking part in a trial potential study candidates are informed about what it means to participate in the study, including how the study is conducted, how they are protected during the study and the risks and benefits of participating. You may choose to end your participation in the study at any time.

You should learn about the risks and benefits of any clinical trial before you agree to take part in a trial. Talk with your doctor about specific trials you're interested in.

Who conducts clinical studies?

Clinical studies can be sponsored, or funded, by pharmaceutical companies, academic medical centers, voluntary groups and health care providers.

Every clinical study is led by a principal investigator, who is often a medical doctor. Clinical studies also have a research team that may include doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health care professionals.