Cancer Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are one of the last few stages of a drug or procedure’s
approval process. In a clinical trial, a new way of treating, diagnosing,
or preventing a disease is used on a select group of volunteer patients,
who then subject themselves to surveys, interviews, and tests to monitor
the effects of the treatment. The purpose of a clinical trial is to test
the safety and effectiveness of a medical tool, procedure, or drug.
For cancer patients, clinical trials are a way to access treatments unavailable
to the public. It creates an opportunity to further science while benefiting
from absolutely cutting-edge medical advancements. It also provides a
way for patients to receive state-of-the-art care from cancer experts
and elite researchers in the field. Valley Health offers patients access
locally to clinical trials for the latest cancer treatments and drugs.
Click here to learn about open clinical trials currently available through our affiliated
medical oncologists’ Winchester office.
How a Clinical Trial Works
Receiving care during a clinical trial is far different from normal cancer
treatment. Treatments in a clinical trial are managed by a
research team, which includes doctors, nurses, research assistants, data analysts, and
specialists involved with the new treatment’s development.
While patients still receive care from a board-certified doctor, they may
also interact with researchers to provide answers to questionnaires, keep
a logbook, or provide frequent health updates. In turn, this may necessitate
more visits to the doctor than standard care might require.
The benefits of a clinical trial include:
- Access to new treatment unavailable anywhere else
- New treatments may be more effective than standard care
- Participants receive the close attention of a full staff of medical professionals
- Trial results can help cancer patients in the future
- Trial results may reveal new findings about cancer
Some clinical trials will also include social workers, pharmacists, and
dieticians to ensure a safe and accurate test of the treatment. Supportive
care is also important to a clinical trial, as a treatment may potentially
come with painful or unforeseen side effects that are as bad as or worse
than current treatments.
Resources & Information
If you’re interested in participating in a clinical trial, you should
speak with your primary healthcare provider.
Information about cancer treatment clinical trials is available at the
Cancer Information Service on the National Cancer Institute’s website. You can also search
for available or current clinical trials by visiting the same website
and accessing their
NCI-Supported Clinical Trials page.
Another source available to patients is the
U.S National Library of Medicine’s website, which lists clinical trials for all types of diseases as well as cancer.
These trials include tests sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, independent
investigators at hospitals nationwide, and the NIC itself.
Use these resources to find out if a clinical trial is right for you.