Clinical Research Trials

Written by Scott Martin
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Clinical research trials can come in several forms of assessment. These trials typically examine the effects of drugs or treatment forms using a control group and an experimental group to draw conclusions about the efficacy and risks of new medical possibilities and treatment combinations. These trials undergo four phases, from a smaller group focus during initial Phase I safety-oriented trials to larger-scale Phase IV trials to assess methods' effects on specific people groups.

What Are Clinical Research Trials?

One type of clinical research trial are treatment trials, which test new drugs, surgery and therapy approaches, or other novel approaches in medicine for a specific condition. Prevention trials, on the other hand, test medications and supplements such as vitamins and minerals, usually carrying a lower heath risk, to track disease development in currently healthy subjects. Screening trials assess diagnosis techniques, and tend to focus on the early stages of any disease or condition.

Clinical research trials can also take the form of quality of life trials, which are also referred to as supportive care trials. These trials use a means of measuring the "quality of life" of a patient, often done by implementing the accepted "FACT-G" test for life "quality" by assessing answers reported in quantitative questionnaire form. Of course, these trials use objective means to assess a patient's quality of life, and are not necessarily judgments of the patient's own perception of the true quality and value of his or her own life. These trials, however, certainly aim to increase comfort and "quality of life" for patients suffering from illnesses, ailments, and diseases.

Clinical research trials require a protocol, or pre-determined study plans crafted to guard participant health and provide answers to pinpointed research questions. For instance, protocols might outline eligibility for the study, and include a schedule of dosages, procedures, and tests, as well as study duration. Throughout the course of a research trial, study participants are monitored physically by researchers to ensure their health and to monitor efficacy of treatment.


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