What Are Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials are research studies. They go beyond the laboratory. They test new treatments such as medications, surgical techniques or radiation therapy, combinations of treatments or methods.
Clinical trials determine whether new approaches are safe and valuable. In fact, most of today’s treatments were yesterday’s clinical trials.
Some have been pioneered at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. One of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers, Cleveland’s center offers early access to clinical trials that are an important part of identifying, treating and curing cancer.
Types of Clinical Trials
Clinical trials examine prevention, screening, treatment and quality of life (supportive care).
- Prevention: Researchers seek ways to lower the risk of cancer, from lifestyle to diet.
- Screening: Screening trials look for new ways to identify cancer before symptoms exist.
- Treatment: These trials are, perhaps, the most familiar. They look at new treatments and new combinations of existing treatments.
- Quality of life (supportive care): Quality of Life trials look for ways to improve comfort of those living with cancer. For example, experts may study drugs to reduce chemotherapy side effects or control pain.
Phases of Clinical Trials
Cancer clinical trials are done in "phases." Each phase is designed to answer a separate research question.
- Phase I looks for a safe dose,
- Phase II measures effectiveness,
- Phase III compares new treatment with best existing cancer treatment,
- Phase IV evaluates new uses or long-term effects of the treatment.
Joining a Clinical Trial
People choose a clinical trial hoping for the latest, best treatment and outcomes. Or they join to improve cancer treatments for future patients. Before joining a clinical trial, doctors will assess whether a patient is an appropriate candidate. Meanwhile, patients should arm themselves with information about the trial.
For more information, please contact:
UH Seidman Cancer Center
National Cancer Institute
Call: 1.800.4.CANCER (1.800.422.6237)