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Feb/Mar 2010 Issue
On Clinical Trial
The FDA defines a clinical trial as a research study that uses human volunteers to answer specific health questions. There are six common types.
An observation trial addresses health issues in large groups of people in real-life settings.
A treatment trial tests experimental treatments, new combinations of drugs or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy in controlled settings.
A prevention trial investigates better ways to prevent disease, using medicines, vaccines, vitamins, minerals or lifestyle changes.
A diagnostic trial looks for better tests or procedures for diagnosing a particular condition.
A screening trial examines the best ways to detect certain diseases or health conditions.
A quality of life trial (also called supportive care) looks at ways to improve comfort and the quality of life for individuals with a chronic illness.
Adapted from clinicaltrials.gov.