14 Frequently Asked Questions about Clinical Trials

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4. What kind of clinical trials are there?

The type of trial that most people read about and consider enrolling in is called an interventional trial to test treatments not yet approved for use. Prevention trials are designed to stop medical conditions from occurring. Observational trials are used to look at health issues in large groups of people and do not involve treatment. Diagnostic and screening trials are intended to detect and diagnose medical problems.

5. What are the phases of clinical trials?

Developing a new medical treatment takes many years and several phases. The process is intended to best treat medical conditions without causing harm to people. Before a medical treatment can be tested in people, animal testing is required. As mentioned above, this phase is called pre-clinical testing. Animal testing is governed by three principals: Use the minimum number needed but still collect data to show if the treatment is safe and effective in people, minimize animal suffering and assure animal welfare as much as possible, and replace animal experiments with other alternatives when possible. Read here for an in-depth description of clinical trial phases. 

6. Why participate in a clinical trial?

There are several reasons to participate in a clinical trial. One is to gain access to a treatment that is not otherwise available but could work for you. A risk however, could be that the treatment is not better or that it has side effects. Treatments in clinical
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