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About Clinical Trials

Clinical research is medical research that involves people like you. When you volunteer to take part in clinical research, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future. Clinical research includes all research that involves people.

Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Clinical trials can study:

  • New drugs or new combinations of drugs

  • New dosage forms of existing drugs

  • New medical devices

  • New ways to use existing treatments

  • New formulations to enhance existing products

  • New ways to improve the quality of life for people with acute or chronic illnesses.

The goal of clinical trials is to determine if these treatment, prevention, and behavior approaches are safe and effective. People take part in clinical trials for many reasons. Healthy volunteers say they take part to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. People with an illness or disease also take part to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have added (or extra) care and attention from the clinical trial staff. Clinical trials offer hope for many people and a chance to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future


Before a clinical trial of a new medicine can begin, a government agency called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) needs to review and authorise it.

The MHRA inspects sites where trials take place to make sure they're conducted in line with good clinical practice.


The Health Research Authority (HRA) works to protect and promote the interests of patients and the public in health research. It is responsible for research ethics committees up and down the country. 

All medical research involving people in the UK, whether in the NHS or the private sector, first has to be approved by an independent research ethics committee. The committee protects the rights and interests of the people who will be in the trial.

Find out more about clinical trials here -



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