Types of clinical trials

masked nurse talking with patient vaccineclinic TONL 14817
When you think of clinical trials, you might think about researchers trying out new medicines on people to see how well they work for a certain disease. This is one type of clinical trial, but there are many other types that look at many different aspects of health.
Medically reviewed by
AKF's Medical Advisory Committee
Last updated
July 3, 2024

Different types of clinical trials are:

  • Treatment trials test new medicines, treatments or therapies for a disease or health condition.
  • Prevention trials look for new and improved ways to prevent a disease or a health condition. Prevention trials may involve testing out medicines, vitamins, vaccines or lifestyle changes.
  • Diagnostic or screening trials study the best ways to diagnose or detect a disease or health condition.
  • Quality of life trials study how the side effects of a treatment (like dialysis) affect the patient's well-being and daily functions. 
  • Genetic trials look at how genes (DNA) are related to certain diseases or health conditions.
  • Epidemiological (ep′i·de′mi·o·log′i·cal) trials look for patterns of certain diseases or health conditions across groups of people (for example: people of certain races/ethnicities may have a disease more often than others).