What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial can be defined as a study that is intended to find a better way to treat a specific disease in humans. More specifically, the data collected during a trial is used to determine the safety and efficacy of a new therapy or new ways of using known treatments in people.

Clinical trials involve a team of specialists, including scientists and medical experts, who design and conduct the studies, but also volunteers, who are invited to participate in the testing of a new therapy. Clinical trials are an essential and necessary part of the scientific research process. As a matter of fact, it is only through them that new medications and treatments can be developed, approved and become available.

All studies are reviewed by an independent regulatory agency, such as Health Canada and if approved are then reviewed a second time by a hospital or University Ethics Board to ensure participants safety. Before agreeing to participate in a trial you will have an opportunity to review a consent form which will outline the study design, the procedures involved, previous information collected to date and your rights as part of your participation. It will also identify any known side effects as well as potential benefits associated with the treatment being assessed. You will always be able to withdraw from a clinical trial if at any time you feel uncomfortable about your participation.

Funding: Our studies are funded from a number of sources including the Canadian Institute for Health Research, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, AllerGen, BC Lung, National Sanitarium Association and various pharmaceutical companies. All funds are deposited into UBC administered research accounts.

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