When we are trying to cure a disease, at some point, we need to be able to test a new medicine on people. In order to do this in as safe a way as possible, doctors run clinical trials in order to test the safety of the new medicine, as well as to see how effective it is at curing an illness or preventing one in the case of vaccines.
There are many different types of clinical trials and it depends on many factors which sort are used when looking for a new medicine. Some will be to do with prevention, some will be to do with treatment, and some will focus on diagnosis – all there of these are important in the human races battle against illness and disease.
Some trials, such as cohort trials for example, can last years as in this case they will track a group of people and take into account their lifestyles and genetics, and see if any of them develop an illness such as cancer or dementia. They will then look to see if there are any similarities between the people who have developed the illness to see if there is a common theme, and something that we can avoid thereby lowering our chances of an illness.
When testing medication, the trials are done in a few phases such as these adaptive phase 1 studies by Richmond Pharmacology. This allows doctors to make sure that a treatment is safe as well as effective before using it on everyone.