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Clinical Trials Frequently Asked Questions

Clinical Trial Glossary
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Glossary results: C

Pertaining to or founded on observation and treatment of participants, as distinguished from theoretical or basic science.

A medical researcher in charge of carrying out a clinical trial's protocol.

A clinical trial is a research study to answer specific questions about vaccines or new therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials (also called medical research and research studies) are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work in people. Trials are conducted in four phases: Phase I tests a new drug or treatment in a small group; Phase II expands the study to a larger group of people; Phase III expands the study to an even larger group of people; Phase IV takes place after the drug or treatment has been licensed and marketed.

A person who works for the study sponsor or its clinical research organization (CRO), monitoring clinical studies.

In epidemiology, a group of individuals with some characteristics in common.

A clinical trial conducted primarily by primary-care physicians rather than academic research facilities.

A method of providing experimental therapeutics prior to final FDA approval for use in humans. This procedure is used with very sick individuals who have no other treatment options. Often, case-by-case approval must be obtained from the FDA for "compassionate use" of a drug or therapy.

Broad range of healing philosophies, approaches and therapies that Western (conventional) medicine does not commonly use to promote well-being or treat health conditions.

Refers to maintaining the confidentiality of trial participants, including their personal identity and all personal medical information. The trial participants' consent to the use of records for data verification purposes should be obtained prior to the trial and assurance must be given that confidentiality will be maintained.

A specific circumstance when the use of certain treatments could be harmful.

A control is the nature of the intervention control.

The standard by which experimental observations are evaluated. In many clinical trials, one group of patients will be given an experimental drug or treatment, while the control group is given either a standard treatment for the illness or a placebo.

Control is a standard against which experimental observations may be evaluated. In clinical trials, one group of participants is given an experimental drug, while another group (i.e., the control group) is given either a standard treatment for the disease or a placebo.


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Information included in the Glossary is from Clinicaltrials.gov, which uses content from AIDSinfo, CenterWatch, Inc., ECRI, Eli Lilly and Company, MediStudy.com, Inc. and National Cancer Institute.