What is a clinical trial?

Click on the video below by A/Prof Harin Karunajeewa, Director of Clinical Research to learn about clinical trials.

A clinical trial is a scientific study of a new drug or device which involves human volunteers. Clinical trials test whether new drugs or devices work and also how safe they are. Clinical trials may compare existing medicines or test new ways to use existing medicines.

What’s the difference between clinical research and a clinical trial?

Clinical research is the study of health and illness. A clinical trial is a type of clinical research study. Clinical research is the way we learn how to prevent, diagnose and treat illness. Clinical research describes many different parts of scientific investigation. It involves human participants and helps translate basic research (done in labs) into new treatments and information to benefit patients. Clinical research includes clinical trials, treatment research, screening research, prevention research, genetic studies (which look at how our genes and illness are related), epidemiological studies (which identify patterns, causes and control of disorders in groups of people)

What are clinical trial registries?

Clinical trial registries allow you to find clinical trials in Australia.

A registry is defined as an organisation or website that either:

  • lists clinical trials being conducted (or that have recently been conducted) in Australia (or internationally, including Australia)
  • provides a mechanism for patients or others to register their interest in participating in an Australian clinical trial
  • provides a link between potential participants and Australian clinical trials.[1]

[1] https://www.australianclinicaltrials.gov.au/clinical-trial-registries