Clinical Research is a part of healthcare science that determines the safety and effectiveness (efficacy) of medications, devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use. These may be used for prevention, treatment, diagnosis or for relieving symptoms of a disease. Clinical research is different from clinical practice. In clinical practice established treatments are used, while in clinical research evidence is collected to establish a treatment. Clinical research refers to the entire catalogue of a drug/device/biologic, in fact any test article from its inception in the lab to its introduction to the consumer market and beyond. Once the promising candidate or the molecule is identified in the lab, it is subjected to pre-clinical studies or animal studies where different aspects of the test article are studied.
Different types of clinical research are used depending on what the researchers are studying. Below are descriptions of some different kinds of clinical research.
Ø Treatment Research generally involves an intervention such as medication, psychotherapy, new devices, or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy.
Ø Prevention Research looks for better ways to prevent disorders from developing or returning. Different kinds of prevention research may study medicines, vitamins, vaccines, minerals, or lifestyle changes.
Ø Diagnostic Research refers to the practice of looking for better ways to identify a particular disorder or condition.
Ø Screening Research aims to find the best ways to detect certain disorders or health conditions.
Ø Quality of Life Research explores ways to improve comfort and the quality of life for individuals with a chronic illness.
Ø Genetic studies aim to improve the prediction of disorders by identifying and understanding how genes and illnesses may be related. Research in this area may explore ways in which a person’s genes make him or her more or less likely to develop a disorder. This may lead to development of tailor-made treatments based on a patient’s genetic make-up.
Ø Epidemiological studies seek to identify the patterns, causes, and control of disorders in groups of people.