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What Are The Most Common Clinical Trials?


Every year, there are anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 active clinical trials taking place in the United States. Only a few of these trials may become mainstream news, either for a positive or negative reason.

Nearly all the other clinical trials in the United States involve specific diseases, such as cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, infectious diseases, digestive diseases, and musculoskeletal diseases.

Some centralized or decentralized clinical trials receive attention when they attempt to test the efficacy of much-needed medication or vaccines. Others may become a topic of conversation if they discover that a particular drug or treatment is not safe.

While most people only know about a select few clinical trials, tens of thousands of them take place without much fanfare. Below is a rundown of the most common clinical trials in the US.

Grouping Clinical Trials

While most people would group clinical trials based on the drug or the condition they are treating or testing, medical professionals also have other criteria. Professionals like to divide clinical trials based on whether they are interventional or observational studies.

An interventional study is one where the investigators assess people’s health based on a specific intervention. The more common name for these studies is clinical trials, where investigators give patients a particular drug, vaccine, or treatment and assess whether the patient’s health improves, stays the same, or worsens.

Another form of trial, which is also equally important, is the observational study. These are studies where the investigators assess the health of patients without any interventions or procedures. The purpose of these trials is usually to consider whether specific habits or abstinence on the part of the general population can impact their health positively or negatively.

Cancers Dominate

If there is one area where clinical trials in the United States predominantly focus, it would be cancer. As there are many different forms of cancer, there is no surprise that a vast majority of the clinical trials over the past few years involve cancers.

There is a projected US market value of around $100 billion for cancer trials and cancer-treating drugs by 2022. There are roughly 30 new chemotherapeutic drugs or combinations of drugs that have received FDA approval in recent years.

Diseases Come Next

While some of these trials may assess specific medications as being effective or not effective in the fight against these diseases, some trials may be looking at treatments as well. Specific surgeries or interventionist treatments may ensure that a person has a better chance of recovering from a musculoskeletal disease versus a person who does not receive that treatment.

Data from the past 20 years shows around 360,000 cancer clinical trials, along with 60,000 cardiovascular and circulatory disease trials. The next categories on the list come in at 35,000 for infectious disease trials and 31,000 for digestive disease trials. Even adding up the rest of the top ten list does not equal the number of clinical trials for cancers in the past two decades.

Clinical Trial Volume Per State

There is little surprise that American states with greater populations are the ones where most clinical trials are taking place. Many of the best research labs and hospital systems, not to mention well-respected doctors, also live in bigger, more populous cities.

States such as Texas, California, Florida, New York, and North Carolina are up there as the American states with the most clinical trials in the past 20 years. Other parts of the country, such as the Midwest and the Northwest, have the lowest figures for clinical trials.

Participating in a Clinical Trial

Involving yourself in a clinical trial is one of the best ways that you can give back to society, especially if you are a young and healthy person. Trials are constantly looking for participants, especially among younger populations, as they want to see if a particular drug or treatment is safe in people who are otherwise healthy.

If you want to make a little extra money, recently lost a friend or family member to a specific illness, or hope to give back to society in general, you may want to learn more about the clinical trials that are taking place in your city or state.

You can easily find such information online, connect with the people who are arranging the trials and ask about participation.