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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 18, Issue 8, Pages 489-492
Special Article

Clinical Trials in Chronic Liver Disease - What Do They Achieve?

Jenny Heathcote

University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Received 8 June 2004; Accepted 8 June 2004

Copyright © 2004 Canadian Association of Gastroenterology. This open-access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC BY-NC) (, which permits reuse, distribution, and reproduction of the article, provided that the original work is properly cited and the reuse is restricted to noncommercial purposes.


The past 30 years have seen rapid growth in the number of clinical trials in liver disease; due mostly to effective drug discovery programs by the pharmaceutical industry. The advantages associated with therapeutic trials in chronic liver disease, or any other disease for that matter, go far beyond potential benefit to the individual patient, other beneficiaries include the treating physician, the sponsoring agency and their investors, the institution/university and the general public. But there is always a downside to any experiment. The disadvantages and advantages of clinical trials in liver disease are the topics for this discussion.