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Therapeutic research

What is therapeutic research?

Last update : 24/10/2012

Introduction

The purpose of therapeutic research is to provide the evidence on which the development of drugs and medical devices for human use is based. Supported by a highly rigorous methodology, code of ethics and legislation, the studies concerning therapeutic research are carried out in general practices in towns, in care establishments and in publicly and privately approved research structures. This type of research uses a scientific approach based on the clinical trials.
Although therapeutic trials for drugs are the most common, clinical research may also concern the understanding of the mechanisms of a disease or the development of new preventive, diagnostic or therapeutic techniques.

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From laboratory to man

img2It all begins with “preclinical research", carried out by university or pharmaceutical laboratories, on biological models (in vitro tests) or animals (in vivo tests). When researchers think they have found a potentially effective treatment, they go onto the following step known as clinical research or human research. This involves the rigorous and objective comparison, among patients, of the promising new treatment and the best known treatments.
The treatments can be drugs or medical devices (implants, prostheses, etc.).

Is it necessary to experiment on humans?

Although tests in vitro or on animal models provide valuable information during the first stages of research, only tests on human beings can confirm that the results obtained during these stages are transposable to man. Clinical trials are therefore necessary and required before putting new treatments on the market.