Have you or someone close to you ever been asked to take part in a clinical trial, research study or experiment? Have you ever wondered what they are and have you ever considered participating?

An ‘experiment’ can be almost any kind of test, with people, animals, plants, metals… an experiment can be on almost anything. The crash test dummies we see on television are being used for experiments about car safety, because we wouldn’t want to have people in those experiments!

A ‘research study’ usually means an experiment with a medicine or drug, or a tool (called a device) used by doctors, dentists, or other people who work in health care. Research studies may or may not involve people.

‘Clinical research’ is when a medicine or drug, or a device, is tested with human research participants who volunteer for the research. These volunteers are usually called ‘research participants’, because they participate in the study; they can be either healthy or diagnosed with the illness or disability being studied. There are 2 kinds of clinical research: observational studies and clinical trials.

In an ‘observational study’ nothing about your medical care is changed, but you might have some extra tests or be asked to fill out questionnaires and forms.

In a ‘clinical trial’ something about your medical care will be changed. You could be asked to take a new medicine or drug or start a special diet. Or it could be something different that your doctor will do, for example if you’re having an operation. These kinds of changes are called ‘interventions’, so these studies are sometimes called ‘interventional studies’.

Participating in research is a way to help others, and possibly yourself and those close to you. Clinical research can help find new ways to prevent, diagnose, treat or even cure diseases and disabilities through new scientific knowledge. The advancement of science has been made possible by the participation of volunteers.

The Veritas IRB Inc. Editorial Board

The Veritas IRB Editorial Board covers questions of research ethics, clinical trial conduct, and human research participant protection primarily for sponsors, CROs and investigators/researchers. // Le blogue de Veritas IRB aborde des questions de l'éthique de la recherche, de la bonne conduite des essais cliniques, et de la protection des participants à la recherche dans une perspective axée sur les promoteurs de la recherche, les organismes de recherche sous contrat (ORCs ou CROs), et les chercheurs.