Clinical research includes any research that involves human beings. This includes clinical trials, where a new drug or other form of intervention is tested in healthy people (safety trials) or in patients (to see if the intervention alleviates symptoms), but also clinical studies where researchers are studying the disease itself. A clinical study may allow researchers to determine what “normal” is for a disease, so that it is possible to determine if a new therapy is changing the course of the disease, or may study new measures of how the disease progresses.
Clinical studies and trials must all be conducted in such a way as to minimize risk to the subjects – they are all approved by Institutional Review Boards, which determine whether or not a study is being conducted ethically. New therapeutic interventions must also be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). MDA only awards the following grants when these approvals are on file.
MDA funds clinical studies and trials projects through the highly competitive Clinical Research Grants and through MDA Venture Philanthropy. Due to the urgency and complexity of such studies, these are reviewed on a rolling basis by ad hoc reviewers, and are closely followed to ensure that they are performed to a high standard.
MDA trains young physicians in clinical research through Clinical Research Training Grants.
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Heidi Pottinger, M.A., M.P.H.
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