Clinical Research is the study of the effectiveness and safety of medicines and drugs. It is conducted by medical professionals to explore and study an illness. The basic purpose of conducting clinical research is to increase medical knowledge to assist in finding cures and developing drugs to combat ailments, thereby improving patient care.
Clinical research is a detailed analysis of the data that the researchers receive through blood cells, samples or tissues. Through the results obtained, they develop strategies for diagnosis, construct treatment plans, and learn the preventative measures one must take to avoid getting sick.
Below is a list of some of the things you need to know about clinical research:
1. Types of clinical research
Professionals may carry out various types of research depending on their purpose. Some of them include:
• Treatment Research: this type of research, as the name suggests, focuses on developing the methods of treating a certain illness, for instance, drugs and therapies.
• Prevention Research: this category of research focuses on identifying strategies about how to prevent getting an illness in the first place. For example, changes in lifestyle and diet to eliminate the risk of getting cancer.
• Screening Research: screening research aims to improve the accuracy of screening tests so that medical practitioners can detect diseases more efficiently.
2. Who performs Clinical Research?
Clinical research is carried out by a team of medical and research professionals, including doctors, social workers, nurses, and people with a relevant degree and knowledge related to the field of research. Someone who has earned a Master’s in Clinical Research online is also eligible to work with the team alongside other medical professionals.
Clinical Research is carried out by a Principal Investigator who is, quite commonly, a medical doctor. Therefore, participants can rest assured that they are in safe hands.
3. Foundation of Drug Development
Clinical research includes several testing and experiments to ensure that the medicine is safe to use and effective in fighting the disease. The observations help improve the drug and provide insight regarding treatments of other conditions.
More often than not, the resulting data is useful in developing cures and treatments of other illnesses too. The clinical trials stage is crucial to the development of a drug or medication because it decides whether it is ready to proceed or needs more work. This stage determines whether it is answering all the key questions and criteria the scientists are looking for or not.
4. Different risks for everyone involved
Every medication has side effects. Some people are more or less likely to experience them than others. Therefore, the participants may respond to the drug differently, and the medication may not be as effective on certain groups of participants. On the other hand, there is a risk that they may experience serious side effects to the drug.
Considering it is an experiment, it is highly unlikely to be able to anticipate what side effects the participants may or may not end up experiencing.
5. Who can participate?
Keeping the point mentioned above in mind, only selective people qualify for clinical trials. People who can participate in the trial are assessed based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria tell the characteristics that the participants should possess to take part in the research, while the exclusion criteria identify all the characteristics that would restrict the person from participating. The requirements can be based upon a person’s lifestyle, diet, whether they smoke, etc.
This criterion plays an essential role as it ultimately decides the legitimacy of the research and whether it is useful for the target audience.
6. Different motivations to participate
People may participate in clinical trials for various personal reasons, ranging from inclusion to contribution.
People suffering from the illness being studied may enroll to understand their condition better and learn more about it. They may also participate to receive the newest treatments in hopes of improving their condition. Additionally, they may participate to feel part of a community – part of a greater cause.
Healthy individuals also actively participate in these trials to help advance medical science. They want to contribute to helping patients receive better treatment. Perhaps the cause may be dear to them due to a loved one suffering from a similar condition.
7. Safety protocols
The health and safety of the participants are important to the medical professionals. Therefore, they will take the necessary steps to make you feel safe and comfortable during the trial process.
At the beginning of the trials, you will receive an informed consent form that will explain everything that will happen in the duration of the trial. You will then undergo screening to check if you are fit to participate. This is a preventative step to make sure the patient does not have a condition that would end up reacting adversely with the trial medicine.
Finally, when the study ends, the participants will have access to free follow-up care to monitor the after-effects of the medicine and treat any side effects they may have experienced in the research.
The patients reserve the right to drop out at any point in the research process. However, most of the participants would do it again as they find the process rewarding and usually have a good experience.
Even though clinical researchers aren’t as popular amongst patients as doctors and nurses, they are a crucial part of the entire healthcare facility. If you aspire to become a Clinical Researcher yourself, know that this field demands extensive knowledge and dedication and comes with immense responsibility. Nevertheless, clinical research is an integral and vital part of healthcare worldwide and can land you a fruitful career.