- Look at a new use for a well-known drug or treatment.
- Compare 2 different but well-known treatments to see if one is better.
- Study the side effects and safety of a new drug or treatment.
- See if a new test helps doctors find and treat problems earlier.
Clinical trial phases
Clinical trial phases show how far along a trial is in the research process. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires most new treatments to go through 3 phases of clinical trials to be approved:
- Phase 1 trials – Is the treatment safe? When a Phase 1 trial shows good results, it will move to Phase 2.
- Phase 2 trials – Does the treatment work? When a Phase 2 trial shows good results, it will move to Phase 3.
- Phase 3 trials – Is the treatment better than the standard treatment? You may be randomly assigned to get either the new treatment or the current treatment. You and your doctor won't know which treatment you get. This makes sure treatments are compared fairly. When a Phase 3 trial shows good results, it is approved by the FDA. This means other patients can get the treatment without being in a clinical trial.
To learn more:
- Watch this video on clinical trial phases
- Read this fact sheet on clinical trial basics
- Watch the webinar below on understanding clinical trials