Clinical trials are essential for the advancement of medicine around the world. This year alone, there have been 415,855 studies conducted worldwide to help develop new treatment options for the diseases and conditions that affect everyone. 
The only way that clinical trials can succeed, however, is if people volunteer to participate. There are various reasons why taking part in a clinical trial can be beneficial both for the individual participant and the rest of the world.
Clinical Trials: What They Are and Where They Take Place
Clinical trials are studies to evaluate surgical, medical, or behavioral interventions performed on people. Researchers use clinical trials to find out whether a new treatment option, drug, or device is effective for people to use.
A trial can also help determine whether a new treatment has fewer side effects than the standard option. They can also help develop new ways of testing for a particular disease, many times before symptoms develop.
Before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a clinical trial, they require testing on animals to ensure the safety of the drug or treatment.
There are many different types of clinical trials in which you may participate. They include:
- Prevention trials to look for ways of preventing a disease
- Diagnostic trials to compare diagnostic procedures and tests
- Screening trials to discover ways of detecting illnesses and condition
- Behavioral trials to evaluate how to improve health through behavior changes
- Quality of life trials to help improve the lives of those with certain conditions
- Treatment trials to test new treatments for surgeries, drugs, and more
Each type of trial will have specific requirements you must meet to participate.
If you get approval to take part in a trial, there are many types of medical settings in which it can take place, including:
- Doctor’s offices
- Community clinics
Where the trial takes place will depend on who is conducting the study, or the principal investigator. Although doctors are usually the principal investigators, professionals like nurses and social workers can be part of research teams that conduct clinical trials.
The Four Phases of Clinical Trials
A clinical trial must go through four phases to test the treatment, find the right dosage, and see if there are side effects. After three successful phases that prove the treatment or drug is safe and effective, the FDA approves it while still monitoring its effects.
A phase I trial allows a small group to use the experimental treatment. This is a set of 20 to 80 healthy people, and the intent is to judge the safety and find the right dosage.
A phase II trial relies on anywhere from 100 to 300 people, and its focus is effectiveness. This phase has to obtain preliminary data to ensure the drug or treatment works on people with a certain disease or condition. Phase II trials still monitor safety. For example, they may review and analyze short-term side effects. These trials can last several years.
A phase III trial gets more information by studying different populations and using different dosages, as well as using the drug together with other medications. There can be up to 3,000 people in a phase III trial. If the FDA considers the trial successful, it will approve the drug or treatment.
A phase IV trial happens after the FDA approves the use of the drug or treatment. The principal investigator will monitor effectiveness and safety in larger and more diverse populations. 
Reasons to Participate in Clinical Trials
People join clinical trials for many reasons. Whether you want to help others or be at the forefront of medical breakthroughs, clinical trials offer the chance to give back to your community.
Improving Your Own Health
If you have a condition or illness that is not easily treated with the current options available, you may want to join a clinical trial. It can also be a good choice for those who do not have viable treatment options because it can give you access to innovative care before it becomes available to the general public.
Many clinical trials offer compensation for your participation. Even if they do not offer compensation, they will take care of all medical fees for the latest treatments, so it can still be financially beneficial. Most clinical trials do not require participants to have insurance.
Help Future Generations
By participating in clinical trials, you can help people with the same conditions or illnesses you have. Not only will you be receiving the treatment before others, but you will be making it easier for future generations to manage their conditions more effectively.
You will also offer hope to those who are struggling with illnesses and who may not have viable treatment options.
Participate in Medical Innovation
Any clinical trial can be the next breakthrough in healthcare. If you participate in it, you will be part of that breakthrough.
Qualifying for Clinical Trials
To be eligible to participate in a clinical trial, you will need to meet the specific criteria the principal investigator requires. The strictness of the requirements for participating allows the trials to get the best results.
Always ask your own questions before joining the trial. You may want to inquire about what the potential side effects are, what your rights as a participant are, and more.
Not all clinical trials succeed. In fact, up to 90% of them fail. A drug or treatment failure means it does not effectively treat the condition or has too many side effects. Although a failed clinical trial is disappointing, it is never a waste of time. Even failures help researchers and scientists improve. 
Participate in Clinical Trials
Clinical trials need people of all ages, races, and health levels to participate to get dependable results. Depending on the trial, those who are healthy can help those who are not. In many cases, you can receive innovative treatment without paying for any medications or special treatments. You may also receive compensation for your time.
Help advance medicine by taking part in the latest clinical trials.