1 – How did clinical trials begin?
Evidence of recorded trials dates back to biblical times, and elements of controlled trials were seen as early as the 1700s. The groundbreaking streptomycin (a type of antibiotic) trial of 1946 was the ‘landmark trial for the model of meticulousness in design and implementation of research,’ says Dr. Arun Bhatt.
As ethics for human protection advanced in the sciences, so did the number of volunteers, continuing the growth of research and trials. Clinical trials today have evolved into standardized procedures to regulate treatments.
2 – What is a clinical trial?
The National Library of Medicine explains a clinical study as “research using human volunteers that is intended to add to medical knowledge.” This knowledge can be related to the treatment, diagnosis, or prevention of diseases and conditions. The main goal of a clinical trial is to determine the safety and efficacy of a medical intervention by measuring certain outcomes in the participants.
There are two main types of clinical studies: interventional studies and observational studies.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “an observational study is a type of study in which individuals are observed or certain outcomes are measured. No attempt is made to affect the outcome (for example, no treatment is given).”
Oppositely, during an interventional study, participants receive specific interventions according to the research plan, typically created by a medical doctor. These interventions may be medical products, such as drugs or devices; procedures; or changes to participants’ behavior, such as diet.
4 — Where do clinical trials take place?
Study location depends on who is conducting the study. Clinical studies can take place in universities, doctors’ offices, and community clinics.
5 — How long do clinical trials last?
The length of a clinical study can vary. However, participants who qualify for a clinical trial will always be informed about the study duration before they enroll.
Visit clinicaltrials.gov for more information and our website to learn more about why you should join a clinical trial!
Learn about clinical studies. ClinicalTrials.gov. (n.d.). Accessed September 22, 2021. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/about-studies/learn#ClinicalTrials
NCI dictionary of Cancer TERMS. National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Accessed September 22, 2021. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/observational-study
Bhatt, A. (2010, January). Evolution of clinical research: A history before and beyond james lind. Perspectives in clinical research. Accessed September 22, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149409/