Participation in a clinical trial is an extremely personal decision that most people make only after talking it over with their relatives, close friends, and their doctors. There are as many reasons to do it as there are people who ultimately enroll. For many people, one way of arriving at a Yes decision is to remember that the ultimate goal in clinical trials is to improve health outcomes.
Now that you’re familiar with the types of clinical trials and the words used to describe and classify them, let’s dive into the structure of a drug development program. You can think of it as a pathway, with the ultimate destination being your own medicine cabinet. Every program begins in a lab, where scientists develop and test new ideas.
Every trial has a protocol – specific guidelines and procedures that detail what happens during the trial, when, and why. This helps ensure the results are reliable and helps reduce the risk to participants. Not every person with the disease or condition being studied will qualify for the trial.
Clinical trials are how new treatments, therapies, and procedures for diseases and conditions get into market so people can use them. They’re meant to show what’s safe, what works, and what doesn’t in humans – key information that can’t always be learned in the lab or with animal models. The paramount focus in all of this, naturally, is the safety of clinical trial participants.
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