About Clinical Trials

Clinical trials bring better medicines, faster

All the medicines we benefit from today have been developed through clinical trials. Trials are the safest way to test new drugs and treatments for their effectiveness so we can develop better cures that benefit us all.

The 5 phases of developing a medicine

It takes years to develop new treatments for illnesses. That’s because safety comes first. Any new medicine needs to be extensively researched, screened and tested using healthy volunteers before it can be used by the general population. The testing is done through a series of clinical trials, conducted in five separate phases.

The pre-clinical

The very first stage of drug development is research into a potential treatment, This is conducted in a laboratory. If the treatment is successfully analysed and conforms to the safety standards set by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency it can then progress to the next phase of research.

Confirming safety

Safety regulations are so stringent that it typically requires 4 or 5 years of successful pre-clinical testing before the drug is considered safe to be tested on humans. Here, recommended doses are identified as well as how best to take the treatment. Scientists monitor how long it takes for the drug to work and then to leave the system. Only healthy people are able to take the medication and if any side effects appear they are carefully noted. Some FluCamp trials form part of this research phase.

Ensuring effectiveness

A small group of people with the target condition (or who have agreed to be given it) take part in this phase. Tests are used to see how well the treatment has helped, how well tolerated it was by the patients and whether there were any changes in the side effects when compared with the results from healthy volunteers. Some FluCamp trials form part of this research phase.


Drug comparison

Thousands of people often take part in this phase of clinical research. The new treatment is compared with alternative treatments already approved and available. Again, safety, tolerability and effectiveness are carefully monitored. This is why every approved new treatment usually represents a genuine medical advance.

Results analysis

The drug can now be prescribed by doctors for use in the general population. Research here often focuses on the long-term effects of the medication, looking at a large group of people over an extended period of time. Or it may examine an already available drug on a new patient population. In either case, studies here help us learn more about treatments now being used by the public at large.