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What is a Clinical Trial?

Clinical Trials are new tests and treatments made available to pre-qualified testing subjects as soon as they’re made. Before they become available to the public, they need to be studied. Clinical trials study how safe and helpful tests and treatments are. When found to be safe and helpful, they may become tomorrow’s standard of care.

Clinical trials can study many things, such as:

  • New drugs not yet approved by the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration),

  • New uses of drugs already approved by the FDA,

  • New ways to give drugs, such as in pill form,

  • Use of alternative medicines, such as herbs and vitamins,

  • New tests to find and track disease, and

  • Drugs or procedures that relieve symptoms.


Clinical trials are carefully designed, reviewed, and completed. The principal investigator is the person in charge of the trial. He or she is a scientist who’s an expert in what the clinical trial is about. The principal investigator takes the lead in designing the clinical trial, choosing the research team, and carrying out the study. Often, other scientists, called investigators, are part of the research team.

What each clinical trial has to offer to patients differs. However, there are four general benefits. First, you'll have access to the most current standard of care. Second, you will be treated by experts. Third, the results of your treatment—both good and bad—are carefully tracked. Fourth, you may help other patients with same disease.

Clinical Trial Benefits

Clinical Trial Participants benefit from being a part of a clinical trial:

  • First to receive a new medication or device for your condition

  • Reimbursement for time and travel

  • No co-pays or charges for anything related to the study

  • Frequent visits during the trial to monitor your health and the medical condition being studied.

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