Today’s cancer treatments were yesterday’s clinical trials. In cancer research, a clinical trial is a study conducted with patients to evaluate a new treatment.
Investigational treatment can be a completely new drug, not yet approved for use or can be using an approved drug for a new indication, or in a different way.
Observational clinical trials are conducted to gain information from patients with a specific diagnosis or patients receiving specific treatment
The search for good cancer treatments begins with basic research. The best results of that research are tried in patient studies, hopefully leading to findings that may help many people. Many clinical trials are for observation purposes only. Before a new treatment is tried with patients, it is carefully studied in the laboratory. This research points out the new methods likely to succeed and, as much as possible, shows how to use them safely and effectively. But this early research cannot predict exactly how a new treatment will work with patients.
With any new treatment there may be risks as well as possible benefits. There may also be some risks that are not yet known. Clinical trials help us to find out whether a promising new treatment is safe and effective for patients. During a trial, information is gained about a new treatment, its risks and how well it may or may not work, by comparing it to “standard” therapy. Every clinical trial at CRMC goes through a careful process of reviews and approvals before it is opened for participation.
Only those patients who wish to participate take part in the clinical trial. You may be interested in or asked to enter a trial. Learn as much as you can about the trial before you make up your mind. You will be given a consent form to review and have all of your questions answered before deciding to participate in a clinical trial.
What is it like to be a patient in a clinical trial?
Whether cancer patients are in a research study or not, they face a new world of medical terms and procedures. For some people, myths and fears of “experimentation” or of being a “guinea pig” come with the idea of clinical trials. And there are fears of the unknown. Understanding what is involved can ease some of your anxieties. Patients in a clinical trial, for example, receive their care in the same places that standard treatments are given in The Cancer Center.
If you join a research study, you will be watched closely and data on your case will be carefully recorded. Certain tests can ensure an extra ounce of observation along the way. During the course of study, if it is clear that a treatment is not in your best interest, you will be removed from the study and you can discuss other options with your physician.
Can you leave a trial at any time?
Yes, just as you can refuse to join a study, you may leave a study at any time. Your rights as an individual do not change because you are a patient in a clinical trial. You may choose to take part or not, and you can always change your mind later even after you enter a trial.
You may also refuse to take part in any aspect of the research. If you have questions at any time about any part of a study, be sure to ask your doctors. If you decide to leave, it will not be held against you. You can freely discuss other possible treatments and care with your doctors and nurses.
The Cancer Center Clinical Trials Department has dedicated full time clinical trials staff:
- Joy Hilliker, RN, BSN, OCN, CCRC. She has over 30 years of nursing experience with the last 12 years being focused in clinical research.
- Linda Moore, BS,Clinical Trials data manager, has 5+ years oncology experience with the last 3 years being focused in clinical research.
If you are interested in finding out more about our clinical trials program or to learn more about current studies, please contact Joy at 931-783-2714 or Linda at 931-783-5755. To view available clinical trials nationwide, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
or 866-258-5416 (toll-free)
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