Many people use both terms, clinical research and clinical trial, interchangeably in their clinical research discussions. We would not say that’s a totally wrong thing to say or do. But it is important for us that you know the difference between both terminologies.
Clinical research is the study of people’s health and the illnesses in people. The purpose of clinical research is to prevent diagnose and treat illnesses but more importantly as well, to prevent them. Clinical research describes many elements of scientific investigation. It helps to transform basic medical research that are carried out in the laboratory into new treatments and useful information that are beneficial to the patients. It usually involves the participation of humans.
On the other hand, a clinical trial is an experiment that is designed to create answers and clarifications about possible new treatments or new ways of administering a previously known treatment for more effectiveness. Clinical trials are carried out to determine the safety and effectiveness of using new drugs or types of treatment.
The difference between clinical research and clinical trial is on a broader view and clinical trial forms part of a clinical research. Clinical trials are part of a long and careful process that is carried out over a long period of time. Firstly, the new treatments are studied in the lab by doctors. Then they usually test the treatment on animals like apes, rats etc, depending in if the fit particular criteria. If the treatment shows good promises in the animals, then they go ahead to test it on human subjects through clinical trials in the clinical research labs. So we can safely say that clinical trials is one of the many phases of clinical research. Other examples or categories under the clinical research umbrella are epidemiology, patho-physiology, physiology, education, health services, mental health etc.
If you are a prospective clinical researcher, that is, you are interested in and wants to build a clinical research career, you can’t afford to miss out on little but vital details like this. There are things that are just important for you to know, knowledge and experience that you have to acquire. All these and more are available for you at ccrps.org where you will come in contact with people willing and ready to help you launch your career forward with their knowledge and experience.