Clinical trials are research studies that use human volunteers to determine whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe for people to use. Clinical trials aim to increase medical knowledge about disease treatment, diagnosis, and prevention through research. Clinical trials on humans are the final stage of the research process.
Although a doctor is usually at the forefront of each clinical study, a clinical trial’s research team may include nurses, scientists, data experts, social workers, and other healthcare professionals. Clinical trials are commonly conducted at hospitals, medical centers, and universities. Some clinical trials last days, while others continue for years.
How do clinical trials work?
Clinical trials consist of four phases:
In Phase I, researchers test a drug or treatment on a small group of 20-80 people for the first time. During this phase, the safety of a drug is studied, and any potential side effects are identified.
Phase I may take several months to complete. Approximately 70% of drugs studied during Phase I move on to Phase II.
In Phase II, a larger group of 100-300 people receive a drug or treatment to determine its effectiveness and safety further.
Phase II may last several months to two years. Approximately 33% of drugs studied during Phase II move on to Phase III.
In Phase III, a drug or treatment is given to large groups of 1,000-3,000 people to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, and compare it with similar treatments. Information that allows the new drug or treatment to be used safely is