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What is a Clinical Trial?

What is a Clinical Trial?

Understanding Your Treatment Options

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. These studies also may show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups of people. Clinical trials produce the best data available for health care decision making. 

The progression of all clinical trials includes:

  • Laboratory Science – Allegheny Health Network Research Institute’s principal investigators and scientists work daily in hospital laboratories across our network to discover new molecules and methods for treating disease.
  • Translational Science – Once discoveries are made in the laboratory and proven to be safe, these new therapies are offered to a small number of patients to help determine appropriate dosing levels.  These types of clinical trials are offered in a very controlled clinical setting to ensure patient safety.
  • Clinical Research – Once a new medication or therapy is proven to be safe in a small group of patients, it is offered as part of a larger and controlled, nation-wide study.  Often, new medications and/or therapies are offered in combination with a standard, traditional therapy to ensure the best patient outcomes. This research will be used to determine how the new discovery compares to using a current treatment alone.  At Allegheny Health Network we offer hundreds of these types of clinical trials.
  • New Standards of Care – Once the safety and effectiveness of a medication, treatment or therapy is proven, it becomes the new standard of care and best-practice for treating that particular disease. 

All of these steps are necessary because they help advance the science behind great medicine and more importantly, help improve patient care and healthy patient outcomes.