What is a clinical study?

A clinical trial (also clinical research) is a research study in human volunteers to answer specific health questions. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work in people and ways to improve health. Interventional trials determine whether experimental treatments or new ways of using known therapies are safe and effective under controlled environments. Observational trials address health issues in large groups of people or populations in natural settings. 

Why participate in a clinical trial?

Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research.

What can I expect if I choose to participate?

If you qualify to participate, you will receive study related physical exams, ECGs and lab tests at no charge. Financial compensation may also be provided.

Who can participate in a clinical trial?

All clinical trials have guidelines about who can participate. Using inclusion/exclusion criteria is an important principle of medical research that helps to produce reliable results. The factors that allow someone to participate in a clinical trial are called "inclusion criteria" and those that disallow someone from participating are called "exclusion criteria". These criteria are based on such factors as age, gender, the type and stage of a disease, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions. Before joining a clinical trial, a participant must qualify for the study. Some research studies seek participants with illnesses or conditions to be studied in the clinical trial, while others need healthy participants. It is important to note that inclusion and exclusion criteria are not used to reject people personally. Instead, the criteria are used to identify appropriate participants and keep them safe. The criteria help ensure that researchers will be able to answer the questions they plan to study.


Have you ever wondered about the process of how new medications and treatments reach patients? After scientific laboratory research, before the US Food and Drug Administration can qualify medications for use by patients, they must go through a rigorous series of clinical trials. Clinical trials cannot be conducted without volunteers.

Volunteers are truly the heroes of clinical research. The majority of volunteers are motivated by a desire to advance treatments that someday will benefit others. 

Volunteers receive:

  • Study medication at no cost

  • Examinations by a doctor at no cost

  • Medical procedures at no cost



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