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What are Clinical Trials

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  • What are Clinical Trials

What are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. These studies occur after laboratory and animal testing has been completed. They are the only way new cancer treatments can be tested for efficacy and safety before being made available to the public. Each study tries to answer specific scientific questions and find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer.

Why Are Clinical Trials Important?

Clinical trials contribute to knowledge and progress against cancer. Today’s standard treatments are primarily based on previous clinical trial results. Because of progress made, many people with cancer are living longer. In addition to improved survival rates, clinical trials have contributed to:

  • Lower recurrence rates for many cancers
  • New treatment approaches for cancers that had no effective therapy
  • Fewer side effects and better quality of life

The more people participate in clinical trials, the faster we can answer critical research questions that will lead to better treatments.

What are the types of Cancer Clinical Trials?

  • Treatment trials of new investigational treatments such as new anticancer drugs.
  • Prevention trials of new approaches to prevent cancer or prevent a recurrence of cancer.
  • Screening trials investigate the best way to diagnose cancer, especially in the early stages.
  • Quality-of-life/cancer control trials explore ways to improve the comfort and quality-of-life of cancer patients.

What is a Protocol?

A protocol is a Trial’s Action Plan. It specifically outlines the study’s purpose, defines the study size and number of participants and describes the plan of care and collection of data. A protocol will also ensure:

  • Risks to participants are minimized and are reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits
  • Selection of participants is equitable
  • Informed consent is sought for each participant and appropriately documented
  • Data collection is monitored to ensure safety
  • Privacy and confidentiality are protected

Why consider a Clinical Trial?

  • At times it is a good alternative to standard treatment
  • May provide early access today to possibly effective treatments of tomorrow
  • Participants are monitored very closely even after the treatment is completed