What is a clinical trial?
A clinical trial is a research study designed to answer specific questions about a new treatment or a new way of using current treatments. Clinical trials are used to establish whether new treatments are safe and effective. It is very important to understand that the new treatment being tested is unproven. It may not be better than, or even as good as, existing treatments.
Some research studies are not trials. In some cases, new experimental treatments might be tried on a very small number of people before a clinical trial is started. Again, the new treatment being tested is unproven.
The fact that a procedure is experimental does not automatically mean that it is part of a research study or clinical trial. Experimental procedures should be made part of a formal research study at an early stage in order to determine whether they are safe and effective.