About Clinical Trials

What are cancer clinical trials?

Clinical trials are research studies where scientists and doctors discover new ways to treat cancer patients or to improve upon the current treatments and quality of life. In order for a new cancer therapy to become approved by the FDA for treatment to the general population, it must be shown to be effective in a clinical trial.

Clinical trials are not only for advanced stage disease. There are trials available for many different types of cancers at different stages. Some clinical trials do focus on patients who have relapsed or progressed under first line therapy, but many others focus of newly diagnosed disease or how to prevent recurrence in patients who are in remission.

Why are clinical trials important?

It is important to realize that all of the current existing forms of cancer treatments are only available because of clinical trials and the patients who participated in them. Choosing to take part in a clinical trial increases scientist’s and physician’s knowledge about cancer and helps improve the lives of future cancer patients. Clinical trials are the key to making progress against cancer.

Deciding to participate in a clinical trial is a personal decision and should be discussed extensively with your doctor to see if it is the treatment option for you.

What should I expect if I choose to participate in a clinical trial?

Several things about your treatment and care may be different if you choose to participate in a clinical trial. Although each clinical trial is different, most trial sponsors (the companies that manufacture the drugs) will request additional information about your treatment and disease outcome. This may include more frequent CT scans, more frequent visits with your physician, additional blood draws to further understand what happens to the new drug in your body, and a detailed schedule for when you receive treatment, have an imaging test, or have a blood draw done.

Participating in a clinical trial can be rewarding, but it can also be very difficult. Neither your doctor nor the trial sponsor can guarantee that the treatment you are receiving on a clinical trial will cure or even treat your cancer. However, as soon as it is obvious to your physician that the clinical trial treatment is not working, you will be removed from the trial.

Finally, it is important to understand that participating in a clinical trial is your decision. Even if you start a clinical trial, you are free to stop at any time with no negative repercussions.

We at Vista Oncology are here to help you get the best care and results you can, whether that includes participating in a clinical trial or not.

For more information about clinical trials please utilize the following links below:

National Cancer Institute

General National Cancer Research Information

About the different phases of clinical trials

American Cancer Society

Resource page to understand and find clinical trials

This is a really helpful website to explain everything you should know about participating in a clinical trial:

Learn About Clinical trials