Clinical trials can be run by a variety of individuals and organizations that come together to finance, set up and then actually conduct the trials.
Clinical trials may be sponsored and paid for by an individual, an organization, a pharmaceutical company, or a federal government agency such as the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Clinical trials have very specific guidelines and testing can only begin once these guidelines are met.
The U.S. Department of Health has two offices that set the guidelines for clinical trials. These are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). An Institutional Review Board (IRB) must also approve clinical trials. An IRB is made up of a group of medical and non-medical members of the community.
The main goal of all of these organizations is to review how the trial will be conducted, to ensure that participants give their consent and to protect participants against potential risks. The people responsible for conducting and administering trials are generally physicians and other medical personnel like nurses and lab technicians.
Clinical trials also usually have a principal investigator who is a doctor with experience in that particular field. The principal investigator coordinates everyone who is participating to make sure they follow proper protocol.
The medical staff will be responsible for screening and selecting participants, monitoring and administering treatments and collecting data. In the past, clinical trials were only available at larger medical institutions where participants would have to travel and not be with their usual doctor.
These days many smaller facilities conduct and participate in clinical trials. Even if their doctor is not a participating doctor, he and the patient agree to share information with those conducting the trial.