Clinical research collects evidence by thoroughly testing new treatments or devices. The safety and effectiveness of a new medication, medical device, diagnostic product, or treatment must be determined before they can be used to treat people. The process involves initially identifying the drug, device or treatment in a laboratory setting.
Types of clinical research
Different types of clinical research include:
- clinical trials – initially testing occurs in pre-clinical trials or animal studies. Once the safety, toxicity or efficacy is determined, clinical trials are set up where healthy volunteers or people with the disease are used to test the drug, device, or treatment.
- epidemiological studies – the study of the patterns, causes and effects of health and disease in specific groups of people
- genetic studies – the study of how genes are related to disease with the aim to develop specific, tailored treatments for individuals.
- behavioural research – involves understanding how individuals or groups behave and what drives them to behave in a certain way. This type of research aims to help predict, prevent and manage disease in specific groups of people.
- health services research – examines how people access healthcare providers and services, the cost of services, the accessibility of the services, how the services are delivered and the effects of the services on people.
Image caption: A state-of-the-art MRI scanner for clinical trials and research.
Image credit: Hunter Medical Research Institute