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What is Clinical Research?

Clinical research is any research done with human subjects (patients) or any material collected from human subjects (such as tissue samples, blood, radiograph images or test scores). This is also called “patient-oriented” research, as patients are the focus of the studies. It is a powerful tool for understanding the mechanism of diseases; determining how diseases affect people in various physical and emotional ways; developing more accurate diagnostic techniques; testing new treatments; and assessing the success of various diagnostic tests and treatments.

There are two main types of clinical research:

  • Observational — samples are collected and investigators look for patterns. These studies tend to require very little patient sacrifice. For example, a study may require blood to be drawn once a month
  • Interventional — this requires an intervention of some type, such as a new treatment, test or surgery