A clinical trial is a type of research done with people that evaluates new tests or treatments before they are approved for use, to make sure they are safe and effective for the people who will be treated with them. All new, experimental treatments and therapies must go through this trial research before they can be prescribed by your doctor or sold in a pharmacy to the general public.
Clinical trials are carefully designed, reviewed, and carried out. The person in charge of the trial is called the principal investigator. He or she is a scientist who is an expert in clinical trial development.
Before a clinical trial can start, it is discussed with and reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), followed by an approval by an Institutional Review Board. (An IRB is a group of people that reviews the research plan to make sure the rights and welfare of patients are protected.)