Thank you for your interest in clinical studies at Washington University School of Medicine and ICTS Affiliated Institutions. Participating in a clinical study is a rare opportunity to make a great contribution to humanity. Information scientists gain through medical research helps to improve medical care for everyone.
What is a Clinical Study?
A clinical study, also called a clinical trial, is an organized experiment performed on human participants to answer a specific scientific question. Clinical studies are conducted to determine the best way to treat, diagnose or prevent a disease. A clinical study could test the effectiveness of a new drug or medical device such as an artificial hip, see how well a new medical test or surgical technique works, study feelings or behaviors, or simply gather other types of information.
The purpose of a clinical study is to answer questions about safety and effectiveness. They help scientists determine whether we are using the best treatments or to help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determine whether or not to approve a treatment for general use. The information scientists learn from clinical studies helps to improve the medical care for future patients.
All medical advances come about through research. By participating in a clinical study, study participants make a great contribution to humanity by helping researchers understand how to improve the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of medical conditions.
Besides making a difference in the future of medical care, research participants may benefit in other ways:
- They may receive experimental drugs or devices not widely available.
- They may be compensated for time and effort.
- They may receive research related medical care at no cost.
- They may be able to take a more active role in their own health care.
Many people volunteer for participation in clinical studies because they are survivors of a disease such as cancer, and want to do all they can to prevent other people from getting the same disease. Others simply want to contribute to research efforts that may help others in the future.