Martin Tattersall | Cancer | American Cancer Society | Volume 95, Issue 7, pages 1397–1400 | 1 October 2002
Clinical trials are an essential component of modern health care. The results of randomized clinical trials increasingly define current standards of care. Potential new interventions, increasingly arising from basic research, require rigorous evaluation before their role in improving health outcomes is determined. Low proportions of cancer patients are recruited into clinical trials.
Until the past few years, independent clinical investigators commonly initiated clinical trials, recruited patients, and interpreted and reported the results. More recently, there has been a great increase in the size of clinical trials to ensure that results are reliable and are not influenced by the play of chance.1 Moreover, an increasing proportion of clinical trials are now performed to achieve regulatory approval of a drug or device. This industrialization of clinical research, and especially of clinical trials, has led to the emergence of Contract Research Organizations (CROs) and Clinical Research Associates (CRAs) as increasingly important players in the conduct of clinical trials.