Clinical trials are conducted in human volunteers to test that new drugs, devices and therapies (‘interventions’) are safe and effective. A new compound may kill tumour cells in mice, but will it work effectively in people, and how big a dose is required? Can it be delivered as a tablet, or is an injection more effective? These are some of the questions that can only be answered with a clinical trial. For people with hard to treat diseases, participation in a clinical trial for a new drug may offer the only opportunity for a cure.
Clinical trials also provide the opportunity to compare the effectiveness of existing treatments or practices, to determine if they actually work, and which is best.
Clinical trials in Australia are subject to strict rules to protect participants and ensure the integrity of the trial process, so that the results can be relied on when deciding whether to allow a new intervention to be offered to patients in Australia, or whether existing practices should be changed.