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Learn More about Clinical Trials

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Clinical research is an essential part of the medical community. Today’s cures were discovered through yesterday’s research, and tomorrow’s cures will likewise be discovered today. Clinical research trials are carefully conducted and monitored in order to ensure the safety of all participants. These trials are conducted to answer important health questions, and serve an irreplaceable role in advancing the field of medicine. At AFC Research, we conduct cutting-edge research within a variety of medical specialties, and are proud to play a part in discovering tomorrow’s health breakthroughs.

Below are a few frequently asked questions about clinical trials. If you might have any other questions please feel free to contact AFC Research and we will answer any of your remaining questions.

In a clinical trial participants receive specific interventions according to the research plan or protocol created by the investigators. These interventions may be medical products, such as drugs or devices; procedures; or changes to participants’ behavior, for example, diet. Clinical trials may compare a new medical approach to a standard one that is already available or to a placebo that contains no active ingredients or to no intervention. Some clinical trials compare interventions that are already available to each other. When a new product or approach is being studied, it is not usually known whether it will be helpful, harmful, or no different than available alternatives (including no intervention). The investigators try to determine the safety and efficacy of the intervention by measuring certain outcomes in the participants. For example, investigators may give a drug or treatment to participants who have high blood pressure to see whether their blood pressure decreases. Clinical trials used in drug development are sometimes described by phase. These phases are defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Every clinical study is led by a principal investigator, who is often a medical doctor. Clinical studies also have a research team that may include doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health care professionals. Clinical studies can be sponsored, or funded, by pharmaceutical companies, academic medical centers, voluntary groups, and other organizations, in addition to Federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Physicians, health care providers, and other individuals can also sponsor clinical research.

The length of a clinical study varies, depending on what is being studied. Participants are told how long the study will last before enrolling.

Clinical studies have standards outlining who can participate, called eligibility criteria, which are listed in the protocol. Some research studies seek participants who have the illnesses or conditions that will be studied. Other studies are looking for healthy participants. And some studies are limited to a predetermined group of people who are asked by researchers to enroll. Eligibility. The factors that allow someone to participate in a clinical study are called inclusion criteria, and the factors that disqualify someone from participating are called exclusion criteria. These are based on things such as age, gender, the type and stage of a disease, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions.