Altus Research, based in South Florida, is a clinical research site with expertise in all phases of clinical research. But what exactly is clinical research, and what do we mean when we talk about different phases? Here is a general overview to answer these key questions.
What is Clinical Research?
Clinical research is the branch of science devoted to determining the safety and effectiveness of medical treatments, devices, and approaches. It is the testing ground for methods that later go into widespread practice in the medical field.
Types of Clinical Research
There are eight main types of clinical research, each differing in its purpose and principal goals.
This type of research focuses on developing new medical treatments, including novel medications or psychotherapy. It also involves testing new devices or medical approaches.
This research focuses not on curing diseases and health problems, but on how they can be prevented in the first place.
These studies explore the effectiveness of novel methods of detecting the presence of disorders in the human body.
Once problems have been detected, they must be properly identified (diagnosed) before treatment options can be considered. Diagnostic research focuses on how this identification process can best be completed.
Recent research suggests that the study of genetics might be a game-changer in the medical field, allowing professionals to identify a person as being at-risk for a particular disease, and then treat that disease according to the individual’s genetic make-up. The field of genetic studies focuses on how this can be done effectively.
This branch of research focuses on patterns of disorders within populations, seeking the causes of epidemics and studying how they can be controlled.
Quality of Life Research
Beyond prevention or treatment, this type of research explores how life can be made better for those with a chronic illness.
Phases of Clinical Trials
A typical clinical trial includes four distinct phases, each of which provides researchers with pivotal information about the drug or treatment in question.
The first phase of a clinical trial involves testing the drug or treatment on a small number of people, then watching for safety, side effects and the ideal dosages.
In the second phase, a larger number of people are given the treatment, and researchers again check for side effects and safety.
The third phase sees the drug or treatment administered to very large groups of people, giving researchers a chance to observe a vast array of cases and monitor for safety, side effects, and effectiveness while comparing the treatment to other common methods.
The final phase of a clinical trial occurs after the drug or treatment has been approved by the FDA, and consists of post-marketing studies on side effects and effectiveness.