Youve read the news stories about medical studies that have unveiled a promising new arthritis drug or breakthrough procedure. And you may have asked yourself, "How can I get in on that?" Perhaps next time you can, by volunteering for a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a research study that investigates the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, medical devices, and procedures on human volunteers. A clinical trial may be sponsored by a government agency, a drug company, a foundation, or a medical institution.