What Is Clinical Research?

Clinical research is scientific research that involves people and is at the heart of all medical advances. Volunteering to participate in clinical research helps scientists and clinicians learn more about the science behind a disease, new therapies, and how to improve care. Clinical research involves a collaboration with the medical community and the patient community affected by the disease.

Types of clinical research include:

  • Epidemiology research studies the associations and causes and effects of disease development in specific groups of patients to improve the understanding of disease progression and how to improve diagnosis, prevention, or care.
  • Health services research evaluates how patients access health care services, cost of healthcare, and access to care.
  • Observational studies follow patients over time to learn more about disease progression, the impact of medications, quality of life, and outcome measurements.
  • Clinical trials assess the effects of an intervention on health.

In this 16-minute PHA Classroom video, Andrea Mytinger, D.O., explains different types of clinical research, the steps needed to complete a clinical trial and the importance of clinical research.

Overview of the Drug Development Pipeline

The drug discovery and development process is complex, time consuming and expensive. The goal of drug discovery and development is to bring new treatments to patients that are safe and effective.

Pulmonologist Anna Hemnes provides insight on the available PAH therapies, the biological pathways targeted and new treatments in the drug development pipeline.

In this 17-minute video, Daniel C. Grinnan, M.D., provides an overview of how new medications are developed.

What Are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are part of clinical research, and scientists and clinicians use clinical trials to evaluate new ways to prevent, detect or treat a disease. Clinical trials can test the safety and effectiveness of a new drug or new combinations of drugs, or they can evaluate a new way to use existing drugs or treatments. Trials also can test new medical devices, explore new ways to change behavior to improve health or evaluate new ways to improve the quality of life of patients. Clinical trials offer hope for many people and the opportunity to help develop new therapies for others in the future.

There are different types of clinical trials:

  • Prevention trials to identify new and better approaches to prevent disease or prevent disease from progressing. These can include studies involving new medications, vaccines or lifestyle changes.
  • Screening trials look for new ways to detect disease.
  • Diagnostic trials study new tests for diagnosing a disease or disease state.
  • Behavioral trials evaluate approaches to encourage behavioral changes to improve health.
  • Quality of life trials study ways to improve the condition and wellbeing of patients.
  • Treatment trials evaluate new medical treatments or new drugs or combination of drugs.

Learn more about how clinical trials work before you enroll

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