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Who Sponsors Clinical Trials?

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and other National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutes and Centers sponsor clinical trials.

Many other groups, companies, and organizations also sponsor clinical trials. Examples include Government Agencies, such as the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs; private companies; universities; and nonprofit organizations.

NIH Institutes and Centers (including the NHLBI) usually sponsor trials that test principles or strategies. For example, one NHLBI study explored whether the benefits of lowering high blood pressure in the elderly outweighed the risks.

Other examples of clinical trials that test principles or strategies include studies that

  • explore whether surgery or other medical treatments produce better results for certain illnesses or groups of people;
  • look at the best age and frequency for doing screening tests, such as mammography; and
  • compare two or more screening tests to see which test produces the best results.

Some companies and groups sponsor clinical trials that test the safety of products, such as medicines, and how well they work. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees these clinical trials. The NIH may partner with these companies or groups to help sponsor some trials.

All types of clinical trials contribute to medical knowledge and practice.

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