The Critical Role of Clinical Trials in Research

Clinical research is a broad term covering many aspects of investigating health and disease to establish new facts, ideas or connections. It is often used to describe experimental studies that examine the effect of interventions on patient or community populations. Clinical trials can be distinguished as either efficacy or effectiveness trials.

Established in 2000, the American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Centers Network (ACRC) has focused on conducting effectiveness trials – those that are primarily designed to evaluate the effects of a health care intervention under conditions in which it will be applied. As such, the ACRC has contributed crucial clinical knowledge in directly advancing the care and treatment of people with asthma. The ACRC is the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma treatment research and has attracted some of the best asthma investigators worldwide. The Network consists of 18 asthma clinical research centers throughout the country and a Data Coordinating Center managed by a team at Johns Hopkins University.

As a multi-centered network, the ACRC is well poised to conduct effectiveness trials because the network has the ability to enroll large numbers of patients from diverse populations to ensure that the research findings are relevant to large groups of patients and can be interpreted with the highest level of scientific authority.

One type of effectiveness research ACRC conducts is known as Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). CER trials compare the benefits and harms of two or more health care interventions to determine which works best, for whom, and under what circumstances in order to be able to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers, and policy-makers in making informed health care decisions at both the individual and national levels in a timely manner. The Network's LODO and LOCCS trials are examples of CER.

For more information, go to: http://www.lung.org/ finding-cures/our-research/acrc/protocolsrecruiting.html.

What are the benefits of participating in an ACRC clinical trial?
  • Taking part in a study may help doctors understand how to better treat asthma, even if you don't personally benefit.
  • You will receive lung function testing, study treatment, physical exams,asthma monitoring and asthma education.
  • You will learn more about living with asthma.
  • All study-related care and study-related treatments are provided at no cost to you or your insurance company.
  • If you qualify, you will be compensated for your time and expenses.
For more information about American Lung Association Asthma Clinical research Centers studies or to see if you are eligible to participate, contact www.lung.org/finding-cures/our-research/acrc/.