What are clinical trials?
A clinical trial is a study that helps doctors and researchers find better ways to prevent, treat or diagnose diseases such as cancer. There are several types of cancer clinical trials — some test new ways to treat cancer; others test new methods of prevention, detection or diagnosis.
Types of clinical trials:
- Prevention trials look for better ways to prevent a disease in people who have never had the disease or to prevent the disease from returning. Approaches may include medicines, vaccines, or lifestyle changes.
- Screening trials test new ways of detecting diseases or health conditions.
- Diagnostic trials study or compare tests or procedures for diagnosing a particular disease or condition.
- Treatment trials test new treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy.
- Behavioral trials evaluate or compare ways to promote behavioral changes designed to improve health.
- Quality of life trials (or supportive care trials) explores and measure ways to improve the comfort and quality of life of people with conditions or illnesses.
What are clinical trial protocols?
Clinical trials follow a plan known as a protocol. The protocol is carefully designed to balance the potential benefits and risks to participants and answer specific research questions. A protocol describes the following:
- The goal of the study
- Who is eligible to take part in the trial
- Details about test, procedures, and treatments
- How long the trials are expected to last
- How many participants are looking to be enrolled in the trial
How are clinical trials conducted?
Clinical trials are conducted in phases. The trials at each phase have a different purpose and help scientists answer different questions.
- Phase I Trials– researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of people for the first time. These studies evaluate how a new drug should be given, how often it should be administered, and the most effective dose with the fewest and least serious side effects.
- Phase II Trials– these studies continue to test the safety of the drug and how well it works in a selected tumor type.
- Phase III Trials– these studies will confirm the new drug effectiveness, observe side effects, compare the new treatment with currently used standard treatments, and collect information that will allow the new drug to be used safely.
- Phase IV Trials– these studies test the drug or treatment after FDA approval to find out additional information about the treatment’s risks and benefits and the best way to use it. These studies help doctors understand the long-term safety.
Current trials offered at Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center include new treatment protocols conducted by pharmaceutical companies and The National Institute of Health (Cooperative Group Trials).
Current trials may include treatment options for breast, colon, prostate or lung cancers, as well as, treatment options for gynecological, leukemia, lymphomas, melanoma and hematologic conditions.
To learn more about the current Clinical Trials that Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center is participating in, please call Deborah Brunetti, Clinical Research Coordinator, at 908-237-2330 ext. 3.
COLON CANCER TRIALS:
Colon Cancer – Stage III
LUNG CANCER TRIALS:
For more information regarding clinical trials, please visit Hunterdon Hematology Oncology.