About Clinical Trials
A clinical trial is a type of research study that tests how novel medical treatments may work in people. These treatments can include drugs, antibodies, immunotherapies, or devices. They might also include new combination treatments that use standard treatments combined, or brand-new medical treatments. These studies usually involve screening, diagnosis, or treatment of the disease.
A clinical trial is usually the final stage in a long and expensive process. Novel treatments are first identified in the laboratory - for example, a new drug. The drug is first tested for efficacy in cancer cells grown in the laboratory, usually using various techniques, to see if it has the desired effect. After this, the drug may be tested in an animal model to see if it behaves in a living creature like the way it behaved on the cancer cells in the lab. Researchers will also be on the look-out for any adverse side effects.
If successful, the treatment may be extended to a clinical trial. Clinical trials generally go through stages (Phase 0/ Phase I/ Phase II/ Phase III/ Phase IV), which assess different properties of the treatment, with each phase having to be successful before the next phase can begin. Sometimes there may be some overlap between phases depending on the trial.
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A new medicine must go through several steps before it is available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits scheme (PBS).