We rarely think about where our medications come from, but every drug, whether it is an over the counter allergy medication or prescription-only chemotherapy treatment, has gone through a series of clinical trials years before it was ready to be released to the general population.
Clinical trials, as the name suggests, are trials or tests performed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of drugs, procedures, interventions, and medical devices to determine whether or not they should be introduced to the public.
A clinical trial has several phases, and most of them begin at a lab when a scientist or researcher makes a discovery he or she thinks is worth pursuing because it has the potential to benefit lots of people.
After researchers discover a potentially beneficial treatment, they spend years working at the lab trying to understand the effects and mechanisms of their discovery. Because scientists work very hard at fine-tuning their discovery and making sure the observed effects didn’t happen by chance, it may take many years before the treatment is even tested on humans.