Types of Clinical Trials

Types of Clinical Trials

When it comes to the health and well-being of the population, clinical trials are often the first step toward new treatments. They help scientists understand how a particular treatment might work, and whether it is safe to use on a larger scale. They also help ensure that the right treatment is given to the right patient at the right time. But what are the different types of clinical trials, and how are they conducted? Let’s find out!

Types of Clinical Trials

To begin with, there are many different types of clinical trials, each having a unique purpose and design. Some are used to test the effectiveness of a treatment, while others are used to prove the safety or effectiveness of treatment.

There are two main types of trials or studies – interventional and observational.

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FACT-_Clinical_trials_confirm_that_hydroxychloroquine_does_not_prevent_illness_or_death_from_COVID-19.jpg

Observational Trials

Observational trials are studies in which participants perform a task under conditions of controlled or limited experimentation to determine the effectiveness of a method as a whole. The results of an observational trial are not influenced by factors such as the environment, the nature of the task, the participant’s motivation, the experimenter’s experience or the experimenter’s skill level. Moreover, they only depend on the nature of the method.

Interventional Trials

Interventional trials involve the administration of new drugs or procedures to patients who don’t otherwise have access to these interventions. This type of research is different from observational studies. Instead of simply observing what happens in a clinical trial, an investigator in an interventional trial actively participates in the process. This means that the investigator can prescribe treatments and perform other medical interventions on the study participants.

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There are various different types of trials that fall under these two groups. Let’s get onto them one by one:-

Prevention Trials

Prevention Trials are mainly focused on finding new treatments that can help prevent a particular disease. One of the most effective ways to find out this information is through clinical trials. 

The participants in these trials may be the general population or people who have a higher risk of developing the disease. For example, this could include people with a strong family history of cancer.

The future of disease is prevention.

Screening Trials

Screening tests people for the early signs of a disease before they develop any symptoms. As with prevention trials, screening trials can be for the general population or for a group of people who have a higher than normal risk of developing the disease.

Also, researchers may plan screening trials to see if new tests are reliable enough to detect particular types of cancer. Or they may try to find out if there is an overall benefit in picking up cancer early.

Treatment Trials

Researchers run treatment trials in stages. These stages are called phases. The early phases aim to find out more about the safety and side effects of a new treatments. Later phases aim to see if a new treatment works better than the current treatment.

For trials that compare two or more treatments, you are put into a treatment group at random. This is a randomized trial. They are the best way to get reliable information about how well a new treatment works. We have more information about randomization.

Pilot studies and feasibility studies

Pilot studies and feasibility studies are used to test the idea and determine if the research is viable enough to move forward. They help the researchers better understand the problem they are investigating and the best way to approach it. This helps to ensure that the final product is as effective as possible.

Image source: Powell, L. H., Kaufmann, P. G., & Freedland, K. E. (2021). Feasibility and Pilot Studies. In Behavioral Clinical Trials for Chronic Diseases (pp. 147-167). Springer, Cham.

To summarize, clinical trials are the most rigorous way to test the effectiveness of a medicine or treatment and each type of trial is suited for a specific purpose.  The different types of clinical trials play a key role in the development of new drugs and treatments and in improving the overall healthcare system.

Keep reading at MBD to know more about clinical trials and their significant role in the healthcare system!

Team MBD

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