Research is the cornerstone of new advances in medical treatments and technology that can significantly improve the early diagnosis and prevention of disease. In the United States, clinical trials are conducted under the supervision of the Food and Drug Administration in order to determine the safety and efficacy of new drugs, diagnostics, or devices by measuring certain outcomes in the participants.
The studies are designed to determine if the new drug or device is beneficial and safe to the patient when compared to alternative treatments. While research has led to major accomplishments in medical science that have led to better treatment options, earlier diagnosis and better outcomes for certain diseases, the decision to enter a clinical trial may seem amazingly complex and daunting.
Each patient must weigh the potential benefits and risks of participation, alternative therapies available, the length of the study, and qualification criteria for eligibility. These decisions should always be made after careful consultation with your medical provider.