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A clinical trial involves research using human volunteers to receive specific interventions according to the research plan or protocol created by the investigators. These interventions may be medical products, such as drugs, devices, or procedures. Clinical trials may compare a new medical approach to a standard one that is already available or to a placebo that contains no active ingredients or to no intervention. Some clinical trials compare interventions that are already available to each other. The investigators try to determine the safety and efficacy of the intervention by measuring certain outcomes in the participants. For example, investigators may give a drug or treatment to participants who have high blood pressure to see whether their blood pressure decreases, or they may observe a group of older adults to learn more about the effects of different lifestyles on cardiac health.
Every clinical trial is led by a principal investigator, often a medical doctor or research team. Clinical studies can be sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, academic medical centers, voluntary groups, and other organizations, in addition to Federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. Clinical studies can take place in many locations, including hospitals, universities, doctors' offices, and community clinics. The location depends on who is conducting the study. linical studies are designed to add to medical knowledge related to the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of diseases or conditions.