14 Frequently Asked Questions about Clinical Trials

1. What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are structured and well-designed studies that collect data about new treatments for diseases and disorders. Most of the time the studies are about medications, but clinical trials can also test other things, such as stem cell therapies, surgical techniques, tests for diagnosis, medical devices, and more. In particular, clinical trials focus on the effect and safety of an experimental therapy in humans. Tests that are conducted first in the laboratory on animals are referred to as "pre-clinical" research.

2. Why do we need clinical trials?

Clinical trials are needed before medical treatments can be approved by government organizations, such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Without clinical trials, doctors and other prescribing healthcare providers (such as nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants) cannot prescribe medications or recommend other medical treatments. These studies are needed to understand two important types of information: that the trea
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