A clinical research study, also known as a Clinical Trial, is a carefully designed study in which participants (patients) are asked to take an investigational medicine under the supervision of a doctor and other research professionals.

Patients volunteer to participate in a Clinical Trial, which are conducted and designed to answer specific questions about the safety or effectiveness of drugs, vaccines, other therapies, or new ways of using existing treatments. Some people participate in clinical trials because none of the approved treatment options have worked, or they are unable to tolerate certain side effects. Clinical trials provide another option when standard therapy has failed. Others participate in trials because they want to contribute to the advancement of medical treatments. There are several phases of approval in the clinical trials process before a drug or device can be sold in the consumer market, if ever, please refer to the graphic.