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Medical Research: Latest News and Information

Disabled World: Revised/Updated: 2018/10/02

Synopsis: Information and latest developments in medical research and clinical trials regarding health and disability including stemcell research.


Main Document

In this section of Disabled World News we bring you up to date with all the latest medical research news and information from all over the world.

What is Medical Research?

Biomedical research (or experimental medicine) is in general simply known as medical research. It is the basic research, applied research, or translational research conducted to aid and support the development body of knowledge in the field of medicine. An important kind of medical research is clinical research, which is distinguished by the involvement of patients. Other kinds of medical research include pre-clinical research and basic medical research, for example in genetics.

Medical research ranges from fundamental research to clinical and applied technology. Fundamental research involves investigations into biological functions; knowledge thus acquired may then be applied in clinical research to help understand specific diseases and to develop improved treatments, cures and methods of prevention.

Medical research can be divided into two general categories:

  • The evaluation of new treatments for both safety and efficacy in what are termed clinical trials.
  • All other research that contributes to the development of new treatments.

(The latter is termed preclinical research if its goal is specifically to elaborate knowledge for the development of new therapeutic strategies.)

  • Preclinical research is research in basic science, which precedes the clinical trials, and is almost purely based on theory and animal experiments.
  • A clinical trial is a comparison test of a medication or other medical treatment, versus a placebo, other medications and devices, or the standard medical treatment for a patient's condition.

Medical researcher examining substance in clear dish under a microscope.
Medical researcher examining substance in clear dish under a microscope.

Among the major benefits of medical research have been vaccines for measles and polio, medication for high blood pressure, improved treatments for AIDS, insulin treatment for diabetes, classes of antibiotics for treating a host of maladies, statins and other treatments for atherosclerosis, new surgical techniques such as microsurgery, and increasingly successful treatments for cancer.

The increased longevity of humans over the past century can be significantly attributed to advances resulting from medical research.

Quick Facts

  • New, beneficial tests and treatments are expected as a result of the Human Genome Project.
  • Many challenges remain, however, including the appearance of antibiotic resistance and the obesity epidemic.
  • In the United States, the most recent data from 2003 suggest that about 94 billion dollars were provided for biomedical research in the United States.
  • The National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies collectively contribute 26.4 billion dollars and 27.0 billion dollars, respectively, which constitute 28% and 29% of the total, respectively.
  • In the UK, funding bodies such as the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust derive their assets from UK tax payers, and distribute this to institutions in a competitive manner.

More and more exciting advances in the field of medicine are being discovered each day by doctors, researchers, and scientists around the globe. For instance testing yourself at home for diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis (MS) will very soon be as simple as using a home pregnancy testing kit.

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