What is clinical research?

 

Clinical research refers to studies in which people participate as patients or volunteers.  Clinical research may have a number of goals, such as developing new treatments or medications, identifying the causes of illnesses, studying trends, or evaluating ways in which genetics may be related to an illness.

Some studies involve promising new treatments that may directly benefit participants.  Others do not directly benefit participants, but may help scientists learn better ways to help people.

Confidentiality is important, results from a study will usually be presented only in terms of trends or overall findings and will not mention specific participants.

People sometimes think that participating in a study will require changes to their current treatment, but this is not always the case.  Though some studies may require participants to try new medications or treatments, other studies may not require any changes in treatment.