Clinical trials are studies that involve human participants. In the US, there are trials for all disease types. The ClinWiki database encompasses all trials registered through the main public repository for clinical trials, clinicaltrials.gov.
There are several different aspects of trials to understand and take note of when looking for a trial that you may want to enroll in.
- There are different types and phases of trials. See below for more information.
- Each trial also has unique eligibility criteria, meaning the researchers leading the trial are looking for a specific group of people.
Interventional Clinical Trials: participants receive specific interventions according to the research plan or protocol created by the investigators. These interventions may be medical products, such as drugs or devices; procedures; or changes to participants’ behavior, such as diet.
- Phase 1: these studies are conducted to assess the safety and tolerability of the drug or treatment. Usually involve a small number of participants.
- Phase 2: these studies are to gather initial data on the effectiveness of the treatment for a specific disease, while continuing to assess the safety. Usually enroll slightly more participants (~50).
- Phase 3: these studies are to determine if a treatment is more effective than standard of care or a placebo for a particular disease. Usually involve a large number of participants.
- Phase 4: these studies are conducted after the FDA has approved a drug for marketing. These trials gather additional information about a drug’s safety, efficacy, or optimal use.
Observational Clinical Trials: these are studies that are conducted to better understand a disease and, potentially, the outcomes over time. Does not involve an active treatment or device.