What are Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials, also known as research studies, are conducted to explore alternative and better therapies to treat patients now and in the future. New cancer treatments must prove to be both safe and effective in scientific studies before they can be made widely available to patients. Cancer clinical trials test new drugs, treatment combinations and types of treatments (such as gene therapy). Also studied are the latest approaches to surgery and radiation therapy, as well as supportive care. Through clinical trials we learn which treatments are most effective. The standard treatments we use now were first shown to be effective in clinical trials.
The goal of any clinical trial is to address the individual needs of the patient and to determine the most effective treatment given for a type of cancer.
Patients may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial through their Medical Oncologist. Participating doctors will evaluate your to see if you meet the eligibility criteria to participate in a clinical trial.
Why Do Patients Participate in Clinical Trials?
Patients take part in clinical trials for many reasons. Although they hope to gain personal benefit, many have altruistic motives and want to contribute to research that may help others. Some patients participate because of their doctor's recommendation.
For many diseases, the best treatment available is the treatment being tested in a clinical trial.
To Learn More About Clinical Trials
If you would like more information about clinical trials, please ask your provider. You may also call the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER.