Clinical Trials: What to Expect
Clinical trials in general
Clinical trials are studies that involve patients that help to change many aspects of cancer care. Some studies may address risk factors for cancer development. Others may examine ways to prevent cancer. Others may test new methods to detect cancer. Some studies may test new treatments for cancer. Finally, some studies test methods to improve quality of life in cancer patients to include ways to improve quality of life after the cancer has been cured.
Clinical trials at the CTRC
The CTRC has a long history of expertise in clinical trials, across the spectrum of prevention, detection, treatment and improvement of quality of life. Studies may be specific for individual cancer types, (for example, a new chemotherapy drug for lung cancer only) or may be open for a broad range of cancers, (for example, an exercise therapy program for cancer patients).
Why participate in a clinical trial?
When patients who are in a cancer-related clinical trial are asked why they decided to participate, they often provide a range of answers. Sometimes, it is because it is only through a clinical trial that a new treatment is available. Sometimes, it is because medical specialists are uncertain as to which of two treatments is best. As it is through the long history of clinical trials that the cancer cures of today have been made possible, many patients participate to make life better for cancer patients in the future.
How do I find out if there is a clinical trial available for me?
The CTRC has a broad range of clinical trials open for many patients with many different types of cancer, as well as studies of healthy patients, examining ways to detect or prevent cancer. Additionally, studies of factors that impact on quality of life or other cancer-related issues are ongoing.
There are several ways to determine if a clinical trial is available:
- Ask your CTRC physician. Our physicians all have a special interest in making these studies available to our patients. While we offer many studies that are available at other National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers, we also have many studies that are only available at the CTRC. These studies are developed and designed by our own physicians; it is often these studies that become the national studies of the future.
- Look at the CTRC website Clinical TrialsTab, you can explore options by entering your type of cancer to determine if a trial is available to you.
- Call the CTRC referral office at 210-450-1000. Our experts will help you determine if there is a study available for you.
Therapeutic clinical trials-focus on early phase studies
The CTRC's Institute for Drug Development has a long history of making available new treatments for patients whose conventional cancer treatments have not been successful. These studies allow researcher and investigators to learn more about cancer and how to effectively treat it within a voluntary patient pool who are interested in helping advance the scientific study of cancer. These studies offer patients the opportunity to receive treatments that are otherwise not available for general cancer treatment.
How do I enroll in early phase studies?
Your oncologist can call our Referral Office to find out if there are treatment options for their patients. Clinical trials can open and close rapidly, depending on the number of participants needed and the specific needs and requirements for each clinical trial.