How Do Clinical Trials Work?

Hide Video Transcript

Video Transcript

Medical researchers are always looking for new ways to prevent, detect, and treat diseases.

To find out if a new treatment is safe and effective, researchers perform controlled experiments called clinical trials.

First, they design a protocol, which describes the eligible participants, procedures, medications, timelines, risks, and the overall goal.

Lots of different people volunteer for clinical trials.

Some are healthy and others may have an illness.

Typically, participants are randomly given one of two or more treatments to see which one works best. One group may get the new treatment, while the other group may get the standard treatment, or a placebo.

Some trials are designed as single-blind studies, meaning the participants don't know which medicine they're taking.

Double-blind studies are when the drugs are kept secret from both the participants AND the researchers. An independent group monitors the trial, to make sure it's ethical.

Every year millions of people volunteer in clinical trials -- offering all of us hope for advancements in the field of medicine.