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For Patients

Find a clinical trial

Understanding Clinical Trials at Sarah Cannon

A clinical trial is also known as a medical research study. It is a carefully designed test of medicines and treatment options under the supervision of a doctor. These studies rely on people, referred to as study participants, to try the new medicine or treatment. Any participation is voluntary. The medicine or treatment may be described as “investigational”, which means it is being tested to determine how well it works and/or what side effects it may cause. For this reason, every study participant is closely monitored with medical tests and examinations before, during and after the clinical trial.

Clinical trials involving new drugs are commonly classified into four phases.  In some later phase clinical trials, the medicine being studied is already used by doctors but is in a clinical trial to test it for a new disease, new dose or in new combinations. All clinical trials must follow strict rules set by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an executive agency of the Department of Health. Each trial must be approved by an Ethics Committee (EC) in the UK. An EC is an independent committee of healthcare professionals and non-medical members. Before the study goes ahead, the EC makes sure that it is ethical and that the highest standards of safety will be maintained.

Learn more about clinical trials from this useful NHS website "Clinical Trials and Medical Research" and Cancer Research UK

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University College London Hospitals