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Clinical research is essential in the pharmaceutical world and is how we go about developing new treatments and expanding our knowledge in the healthcare sector. Clinical trials allow for us to develop new drugs and treatments that are safe and efficient and that can be used to treat a myriad of illnesses and ailments.

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During a trial, a new drug, technology or treatment may be tested in various ways, and the data that arise from this research can better help us to understand all kinds of health conditions. In some cases, such as during adaptive phase 1 studies, participants are split into groups and one set is given a trial drug while the others receive a placebo, and results are monitored. This allows medical professionals to gather data on how the drug performs, the side effects and its efficiency. By comparing results with the first trial group and subsequent groups thereafter, they can determine how efficient a new treatment may be.

Clinical Trial Phases

There are four phases in clinical trials, and during each phase, the number of participants is increased, and more test subjects will mean measuring success against a great variable. Increasingly, more and more people are volunteering to take part in clinical trials, and this also improves the success rate of a trial, as there are more available participants.

Trial Stages 1-4

Each stage has set parameters and the phase 1 studies of will all involve a smaller group of test subjects testing the safety and side effects of a drug and defining the right dose.

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In phase 2 the number of participants will increase, and there will be short-term tests as to the effectiveness of a drug. The success rate will be measured against other similar treatments or against a placebo. Side effects will also be monitored.

More subjects will join for the third stage of trials, in which those with the condition or disease will also be included. In this stage, they will test for side effects and will see if the new drug is the same as or better than an existing treatment. After stage 3, medication may become available for prescription.

In stage 4, tests will take place over a few years, and the efficiency and side effects will be monitored on an ongoing basis.