Physicists have a wide array of tools—ranging from a basic scale to the mammoth LHC—to study the universe. But the choice is limited for biologists, whose only reliable test subjects are humans because no one has come up with an alternative to test the efficacy of a new drug. Though animals are used in research, the FDA does not let any new medicine hit store shelves until it has been successfully tested on human beings. The testing of a new drug on humans under a pre-defined plan is called clinical research

Clinical research has two types: observational and interventional. Observational studies look at people who are already receiving a treatment and measure the outcomes. In these studies, people choose their treatment and biologists’ role is limited to observing them. Interventional studies are different. 

In an interventional study, a promising treatment is given to a patient in a controlled environment. The researcher divides participants into several groups and measures and compares their outcomes at the end of the study. This type of clinical research is also called clinical trial. Only those products, that have successfully completed several clinical trials, are allowed to be sold in markets. 

For a patient, there are several benefits of participating in a clinical trial: 

  1. 1. An active role in healthcare
  2. 2. Access to cutting-edge research treatment
  3. 3. Medical care at leading healthcare facilities
  4. 4. Contribution to medical research
  5. 5. No cost treatment 


Though there are some downsides to being a clinical trial subject, the benefits outweigh them.