Clinical Trials are scientific studies in which new treatments – drugs, diagnostic procedures and other therapies – are tested in patients to determine if they are safe and effective. Nearly all cancer drugs in use today were tested and made available to patients through clinical trials. Each clinical trial is designed to find new or better ways to treat cancer patients. In oncology, clinical trials are especially important because, in the absence of high cure rates, nearly all therapeutic approaches are developmental in nature.
Although clinical trials are an important component of cancer care and are crucial for improving cancer treatment, fewer than five percent of cancer patients currently participate in clinical trials because they are uninterested, unaware they exist or unable to participate because of past treatment. To qualify for a particular study, patients must meet a carefully defined set of criteria. Those criteria usually relate to patient’s age and gender, the type and severity of their condition, and the type of treatments they have already received.
There are currently over 400 cancer-related clinical trials in various phases throughout the United States. The following are links to websites that have more information related to these trials.
If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, please discuss this with you physician so they can help you make the best decision for your care.