About Clinical Trials & Research

A doctor conducting research for a pediatric clinical trialClinical research is medical research that directly involves people. It uses different ways to study and turn laboratory (basic) research into new treatments and information for humans. Clinical research helps us better understand the human body and how it’s affected by diseases. It creates new tests and treatments. Clinical trials are one type of clinical research.

Clinical trials are research studies that look at the safety and effectiveness of medical strategies, treatments or devices. Also called clinical studies, they may identify the best way to treat certain illnesses or diseases for individuals or groups of people. Most of the treatments we use today came past clinical trials.


The Need for Clinical Research

Clinical research seeks to answer specific questions about how diseases affect the body and quality of life. Asking questions through clinical trials helps us learn more about diseases. It also helps to create and improve treatments for patients around the world.

Here are sample questions that clinical trials can help us answer:

  • Why are people with atopic dermatitis more prone to skin infections than people without that disease?
  • Why do some African Americans with asthma not respond to the usual asthma treatments
  • How effective is this drug on dry itchy skin?

Clinical research is a long and cautious process.

  • Ideas often start and are tested in the laboratory.
  • After testing, promising ideas may be tested on animals to see how the treatment reacts to a living body.
  • Several phases of clinical trials follow to evaluate factors such as safety, benefits and risks.

Clinical research is closely and systematically watched by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and our own independent safety review board.

The National Jewish Health Institutional Review Board is a group of scientists, doctors, nurses and community members who are not associated with the actual research. Their job is to protect the rights and safety of research participants.


The Importance of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials (studies) measure the safety and effectiveness of a new or existing medical invention or treatment, or other intervention. This can be a drug, a biological agent, a medical device or a treatment.

Research studies are designed to protect patients from unnecessary side effects. They follow strict scientific standards. These standards protect patients. They make sure information is collected honestly and accurately for precise analysis. Studies involving new medications have extensive safety precautions.

We need clinical trials so that new, safe and effective treatments and devices can be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and made available to the public.


Benefits of Participating in Clinical Research

  • Access to some of the best researchers, physicians and clinical care staff in the nation
  • Free or low-cost medical evaluations and procedures
  • Possible financial compensation for time, travel and participation
  • Study medication provided at no cost
  • Convenient location and appointment times
  • Disease-related education
  • An opportunity to play an active role in in treatment discoveries, cures, and preventions for many diseases and conditions


Participating in Clinical Trials at National Jewish Health

Your doctor may know about current clinical trial studies that are specific to your condition. Your doctor may be able to provide more information for you to consider. You do not have to be a current patient of National Jewish Health in order to participate in one of our clinical research studies. Search our clinical trials.


Clinical Research Studies and Safety

Protecting the safety of people who take part in clinical trials is a high priority for clinical researchers. Each trial has scientific oversight. Patients also have rights that help protect them.