Clinical trials are research studies in which people help doctors find ways to improve health and cancer care. Each study tries to answer scientific questions and to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer.
A clinical trial is one of the final stages of a long and careful cancer research process. Trials involving patients are only approved for conduct after many other studies are completed in the laboratory setting that demonstrate effectiveness and safety in other models. Studies are done with cancer patients to find out whether promising approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are safe and effective.
There are several different types of cancer clinical trials:
- Treatment trials test new treatments to see if they are more effective and/or cause fewer side effects than current treatments available for specific types of cancers. New treatments that are included in cancer clinical trials include but are not limited to a new cancer drug, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, new combinations of treatments, or new methods such as gene therapy.
- Prevention trials test new approaches, such as medicines, vitamins, minerals, or other supplements that doctors believe may lower the risk of a certain type of cancer. These trials look for the best way to prevent cancer in people who have never had cancer or to prevent cancer from coming back or a new cancer occurring in people who have already had cancer.
- Screening trials test the best way to find cancer, especially in its early stages.
- Quality of Life trials - also called Supportive Care trials - explore ways to improve comfort and quality of life for cancer patients. These trials may evaluate more effective ways to manage cancer pain, decrease fatigue or increase overall well-being during cancer and its treatment.
For more information on clinical trials:Click here
to visit to the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) website.Click here
to visit the University of Pennsylvania's clinical trial page.