Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advancement. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Treatments might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments. Clinical trials also look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Studies follow strict, scientific standards which protect patients and help produce reliable clinical trial results. Clinical trials are one of the final stages of a long and careful research and development process. The process often begins in a laboratory, where scientists first develop and test new ideas.
People participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Healthy volunteers say they participate to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. Participants with an illness or disease also participate to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have the additional care and attention from the clinical trial staff. Clinical trials offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future.