What is a clinical trial ?

What is a clinical trial ?

Clinical trials are essential for discovering new treatments for diseases, as well as new ways to detect, diagnose, and reduce the chance of developing the disease. Clinical trials can show researchers what does and doesn’t work in humans that cannot be learned in animals or in the laboratory, and at the same time test for any potential side effects.

Every day hundreds of people are invited to participate in clinical trials to test new treatments and devices. Clinical trials are conducted across four phases and people can be invited to participate in any of these phases. The trial process, across all the phases, can take 5-10 years or more.

For some health conditions, participating in a clinical trial provides the only chance to receive a potentially beneficial treatment that may take many years to become commercially available. Also, results of a trial will be used to guide clinical practice and will benefit future patients.

The best way to compare a new treatment to the standard or currently approved treatment is in a randomised controlled trial. What does this mean? In such a study, participants are randomly assigned to either the standard (control) or new treatments. This is done by using the computer equivalent of tossing a coin and the process is known as randomisation.

Without people participating in clinical trials, ground-breaking treatments and devices would never make it to market. Further awareness is needed as only a small percentage of eligible people take part in clinical trials. In addition, if you take part in a randomised trial you may receive a treatment that is better than standard care and you are often more closely monitored than under routine care outside of the trial setting.

Ask your doctor if you are eligible to participate in a clinical trial and help our researchers improve treatments and outcomes for all patients.