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What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are research studies performed in people that are aimed at evaluating the efficacy and tolerability of new treatments, like a new drug, a medical device, or a psychotherapy method. Often, a clinical trial is used to learn whether a new treatment is more effective or has less harmful side effects than the standard of care. Moreover, clinical trials may also look at how to improve the quality of life for patients with a chronic health problem, or they may study the role of caregivers or support groups.

Clinical trials are strictly regulated by national and international law and are performed in accordance with the harmonized Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP) of the Declaration of Helsinki. Participating in a clinical trial is voluntary and offers a chance to receive a new treatment, which is not yet available to the public.