Clinical research refers to all research conducted on human beings. It mainly concerns the improvement of knowledge on the functioning of the organism, diseases, the development of new treatments or new medical devices and the elaboration of diagnostic methods in order to ensure a better care of the patients.
Clinical research is highly regulated and follows a precise study protocol and is only carried out under certain conditions:
- Gathering the consent of the persons participating in the research;
- Obtaining the regulatory authorizations and having taken all the necessary legal and ethical steps;
- Be conducted by competent persons;
- To take all measures to protect the persons who take part in the research;
- Have the goal of increasing biological and medical knowledge.
Three main types of clinical research
There are 3 main types of clinical research:
- Non-interventional studies (e.g. cohort studies, epidemiology, questionnaires, etc.): these studies allow for the improvement of knowledge about the human being, the disease and its evolution over time;
- Experimental studies with minimal risks and constraints: these studies aim to advance biological and medical knowledge thanks to brain imaging techniques (MRI, EEG, etc.) sometimes coupled with cognitive or behavioral tasks (perception, memory, decision tests, etc.).
- Interventional studies or clinical trials: these studies provide scientific proof of the efficacy and safety of a new drug, a new care device or a new treatment for a disease. This is the necessary step for a new molecule to become a drug or a new medical device to be marketed.