New treatments for spinal cord injury are developed in the laboratory and at this stage are referred to as “preclinical”. They are usually tested using computer simulations or animal models, but promising preclinical treatments may not work as well in humans. So, the next stage is a “clinical” experiment.
Clinical trials are research studies using human subjects in order to test new treatments or interventions. They are the main way researchers find out if a new treatment, like a new drug or medical device, is safe and effective for people and if it is better than the treatments that are already available.
For spinal cord injuries these might involve such things as experimental drugs, stem cells and other cell types, biomaterials, medical devices, surgical and other medical procedures, rehabilitation methods and exercise, dietary changes, or any combination of these.