Where Research Meets Clinical Care
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective.
Clinical trials are the best way to study disease and effective treatment protocols because the disease being studied and treated is an organic event taking place spontaneously in nature, rather than being imposed within an artificial laboratory environment.
Clinical studies follow strict scientific standards. These standards protect patients and help produce reliable study results.
For safety purposes, clinical trials start with small groups of patients to find out whether a new approach causes any harm. In later phases of clinical trials, researchers learn more about eh new approach's risks and benefits.
These studies also may show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups of subjects. Clinical trials often produce the best data available for veterinary care decision-making.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some typical questions and answers that can help you understand how clinical trials play such a critical role in the development of new treatments for organically occurring diseases:
What is a clinical trial?
When a new medical product or clinical approach is being studied, it is helpful to determine whether or not it will be effective in treating a disease or condition, and to what extent. Investigators try to determine the safety and efficacy of the intervention by measuring certain outcomes in the participants.
Once participants are enrolled to take part in a trial, they receive specific interventions according to the research plan or protocol created by the investigators.
How do veterinary clinical trials impact human medicine?
Not only does translational medicine in the veterinary setting benefit the animals we aim to treat, it brings us one step closer to treating humans with comparable disease processes.
Many diseases that occur in humans are also recognized in non-human species. Here at Penn Vet, not only do we conduct numerous clinical trials in a variety of diseases, the Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center (VCIC) provides the infrastructure to facilitate the translation of novel interventions from basic scientists to high quality investigations with naturally occurring diseases that parallel human conditions.
What is translational research?
Translational research is where laboratory science and clinical medicine meet to develop novel therapeutics to prevent, diagnose and treat disease. Through testing research models in clinical studies, or clinical trials, we are able to bridge the gap between bench and bedside. At Penn Vet, we are uniquely positioned to study the impact of research breakthroughs through this approach, not with laboratory animals, but with patients themselves.Conventionally, new medical advancements move from experiments with laboratory animals directly to human clinical trials. At Penn Vet, our patients present with spontaneous diseases in the same way humans do. By studying the impact of research models through clinical trials in client-owned animals whose day-to-day lives more closely resemble our own, scientists and doctors can better understand the outcome of therapeutics in patients.
In addition, our patients can more immediately benefit from breakthrough research conducted in strict protocols and controlled settings.
The Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center at Penn Vet
Penn Vet's Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center is a centralized department at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine for the advancement and coordination of clinical studies and trials.
The VCIC consists of a group of veterinarians and veterinary nurses dedicated to the advancement of veterinary clinical studies and trials both inside and outside of Penn Vet's Ryan Hospital. We work closely with faculty, staff, residents and interns within Ryan Hospital as well as with outside foundations and industry.
Clinical Trials at Penn Vet
Learn more about the types of trials we are currently conducting by browsing our complete list.