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What is Clinical Research?

Clinical research is research that studies health and illness in people. This type of research helps us learn how to better care for people who are ill and how to help healthy people stay healthy. Researchers might use a clinical research study to learn if new medicines or treatments work, to find ways to make these treatments work better, or to better understand a health condition.

What is Clinical Research?

Research is different from regular health care, though your doctor might recommend studies. For example, you might get access to new medicines or treatments that you would not otherwise have. This kind of research might benefit you now. Sometimes, you will not have immediate benefits. For example, the medicine or treatment might be found to not work; or, you might get a placebo, a harmless pill that does not do anything. In either case, you are contributing to medical knowledge that can help others and yourself in the future.

How Are You Protected?

Laws, rules, and processes make research as safe as possible for volunteers. A committee called the "institutional review board" or IRB reviews all studies before they start. The IRB is recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and includes members of the public, doctors, and scientists. The IRB makes sure risks are as low as possible. The IRB also makes sure the study is ethical and important to do. All research studies involving humans must be approved by the IRB in order to take place. Learn more about IRBs here.

Research Education Topics