About Cancer Clinical Trials
When you join a cancer research study, commonly referred to as a clinical trial, you benefit from some of the latest techniques and therapeutic advances in the fight against cancer. At the same time, you are helping to improve our knowledge in ways that will help people with cancer to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. Other benefits of clinical trials include:
- The very latest medicines available to treat your cancer.
- Frequent and thorough medical exams.
- The latest information to help you better understand your condition.
- The guidance you need to improve your health.
- Support and counseling from doctors and nurses on the hospital’s research staff.
There are four types of cancer clinical trials:
- Prevention trials test new drugs or techniques designed to prevent the development of cancer in people at risk.
- Control trials test treatments for the symptoms and side effects caused by cancer and examine quality-of-life issues.
- CCDR trials are focused on patient, provider and organizational level influences on cancer outcomes.
- Treatment trials test the effectiveness of new cancer therapies and drugs.
Along with our partners at the Center for Translational Cancer Research and the University of Delaware Department of Biological Sciences, ChristianaCare’s Cancer Research Program conducts all three types of clinical trials. If you are a patient at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, your cancer care-management team will discuss clinical trials with you. But you may also contact the Cancer Research Program directly to learn more about clinical trials and find out which ones you may be eligible for. For immediate, real-time access to all National Cancer Institute approved cancer trials that are open at ChristianaCare, visit Clinicaltrials.gov.
Researching the cancer-fighting drugs of tomorrow
Treatment trials that test new cancer drugs proceed through several stages before successful new drugs can be made available to the general population. These drugs are first tested in laboratory and animal studies. Medicines that proceed to be tested in people must follow rigid guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Research studies to test new drugs in people are categorized in four phases:
- Phase I clinical trials involve a small group of volunteers. They are designed to test a drug’s safety and to determine how it works in the human body.
- Phase II studies test the effectiveness of the drug on a few hundred, closely monitored volunteer patients who have the disease the drug is designed to treat.
- Phase III trials involve several thousand volunteer patients who are closely monitored in clinics and hospitals to confirm the effectiveness and adverse effects of the drug in treating their illness compared to standard therapy.
- Phase IV trials are sometimes required by the FDA to evaluate any long-term effects of a drug or treatment.