The National Medical Association wants to promote increased awareness and educate African Americans about clinical trials – what they are, why they are important, and the risks and potential value to participation.

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A Clinical Trial

A clinical trial is a step-by-step process that studies or tests in humans a new procedure, drug, vaccine, or device. Each trial seeks to answer scientific questions with the goal of finding better ways to prevent, screen for, make diagnoses, or treat a disease. The following is an explanation of the different types of trials.

Prevention trials study approaches, such as medicines, vitamins, minerals, or lifestyle changes that may lower the risk of a disease. These trials look for the best way to prevent a disease or to prevent a disease from coming back.

  • Diagnostic trials help determine whether a new screening process or test will contribute to the identification of a specific disease or disorder
  • Treatment trials are designed to find more effective treatment approaches and options. They may also involve testing new advances in drug treatment, surgery, radiation treatment or chemotherapy
  • Screening trials may be conducted to find out if a screening process (such as for prostate cancer) is useful in detecting the disease at an early stage and, as a result, reduce illness or death from the disease
  • Quality of Life trials may study the impact of the disease and the person’s ability to do routine activities, with the goal of finding ways to improve a person’s comfort of daily living

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