How clinical trials work

Jul 16, 2021 | Kanaaz Pereira, Connect Moderator | @kanaazpereira

At any given time, Mayo Clinic has more than 3,000 clinical trials underway to solve the world's most challenging medical problems.

Clinical trials help researchers discover and apply critical advances in patient care. Clinical trials follow rigorous scientific processes that usually take many years to complete. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been able to see and experience clinical trials operating in fast-forward mode. And a lot of people are wondering, "How do clinical trials work?"

In this Q&A, the Mayo Clinic News Network Team sat down with Dr. Naveen Pereira, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, and Dr. Andrew Badley, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist and chair of Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 Research Task Force, to get some answers and insights on some of the most common questions people have about clinical trials.

According to Dr. Pereira, "Underrepresented minorities — it's been an incredible problem trying to get them to be represented in clinical trials. People are different, and they can react differently to different interventions. It's going to be a very important battle that we need to undertake. We definitely need to represent minorities in clinical trials to reflect the true landscape of the United States and make sure that whatever treatments that we are assessing are applicable for all.

"We are also looking to partner with other institutions to enable more minority representation in clinical trials. We've formed a research center with a specific focus on the engagement of people who are underrepresented minorities and are also trying to make cutting-edge research more accessible."

Dr. Badley further explains: "Many of our researchers are engaging with community leaders in the areas we serve. We have a large number of groups throughout Florida, Arizona, and Minnesota who are working with community leaders to understand the health issues that are most of concern those communities. By engaging and addressing the individual community needs, we hope that Mayo can bring to those communities the trials they are most interested in so that we're responding to their health needs.

Learn more about clinical trials and their importance in medical research:

The Clinical Trial Journey
Read this explainer and watch the animated video, which is available in English and Spanish.

This story originally appeared on the Mayo Clinic News Network. 

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