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Our Impact on Clinical Trials

We develop innovative strategies for clinical trials so that new therapies can improve the health of all the people who need them.

Shaping the Future of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are a necessary step on a treatment’s journey to the medicine cabinet. But the barriers to success in clinical trials are high. A clinical trial’s design and approval can take a long time. Even after completion, a trial may not have enough participants to produce robust results, or the results don’t demonstrate that a treatment will work for everyone who needs it. 

NCATS improves clinical trial practices so more safe and effective therapies can be efficiently tested and developed for the people who need them. We work with our partners to develop trial designs for testing multiple drugs, strategies for enhancing diversity among participants, and best practices for engaging the community at all stages. These approaches allowed major clinical trials for potential COVID-19 treatments to swiftly offer definitive results. 

More innovative clinical trial approaches are on the horizon, especially for rare diseases. We are testing whether biomedical devices that use a patient’s own tissues could speed trial design and execution. We’re also developing a clinical trials approach that tests a single therapy on multiple diseases, as well as an approach for increasing the success of clinical trials for rare diseases.

Explore All Areas of Our Impact

Impact Stories

Immune Modulator Drugs Improved Survival for People Hospitalized with COVID-19

Illustration of a cytokine storm response to infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

We coordinated and oversaw the ACTIV-1 Immune Modulators clinical trial, which demonstrated improvement in survival rates.

Efficient Registry Approach Powers Practice-Shaping Infant Heart Surgery Trial

Adult hands and child hands holding a red toy heart

Clinical trial resources from NCATS streamlined a clinical trial study on infants undergoing surgery for congenital heart disease.

Clinical Trial Innovation Activities

Our programs help turn clinical trials into meaningful results.

female scientist in a lab coat looking at a computer

Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program

The CTSA Program addresses the development and implementation of national standards and best practices for translation, from basic discovery to clinical and community-engaged research.

Child in pink head wrap talks to female doctor

Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN)

We oversee this NIH-wide grant program that supports medical research on over 200 rare diseases through clinical studies, including collaborations, study enrollment and data sharing.

Thumb and pointer finger holding tissue chip

Clinical Trials on a Chip

The Clinical Trials on a Chip program seeks to improve the success rate of new therapeutics in drug development using tissue chips.

Clinical Trial Innovation News

Landmark Study of Biomarker Data May Enable Better Treatment for Early Onset Dementia

September 22, 2022 - Grantee/Partner News

Innovation through Academic-Industry Partnerships in Clinical Trials

May 16, 2022 - Grantee/Partner News

NIH Funds CUNY SPH and West Point AI Center for Precision Nutrition and Health

January 20, 2022 - Grantee/Partner News