Clinical Trials

What are Clinical Trials?

Clinical Trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. The primary goals of all clinical trials are:

  • To find better treatment to fight cancer that are more successful
  • To improve the treatment of side effects resulting from cancer therapies

Clinical research is the process by which new treatments are approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use in the general public. Before a medication or procedure can be FDA approved, it must be tested to make sure that it is safe and effective. All cancer and supportive care drugs in use today were approved by the same process.

Should I Consider a Clinical Trial?

Over the years, thousands of people have benefited from clinical trials. Some people have extended their lives by participating in clinical trials. Oftentimes people in studies get promising medical treatments that would not be available to them by any other means. However, there are risks and possible side effects to consider. For instance, it is not clear how a new treatment will work for each individual. In some cases, patients have had negative reactions to a new treatment.

There are also trials available know as observational trials where only the consent of a patient is needed to participate. The goal of an observational trial is to gather as much information about a patient’s medical history so that researchers are able to obtain a better understanding of how medicine can be improved.

It is up to you, your doctor, and your family to decide if a clinical trial is right for you. Patients who are interested in participating go through a process called screening. The purpose of the screening process is to determine if the patient meets the necessary criteria. These criteria define who is eligible to enroll in a trial. If you are eligible and your doctor thinks it is in your best interest, you will be given the option of trial participation.

Your participation in a clinical trial is completely voluntary and you may revoke your participation at any time. You will not be placed in a clinical trial without your signed informed consent.

Additional information on clinical trials can be found at:

National Cancer Institute — Clinical Trials