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Clinical Trials

Patients undergoing cancer treatment may benefit from participation in clinical research studies offering new therapies or new combinations of existing therapies and modalities (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy). The Martin-O’Neil Cancer Center participates in in clinical research in two ways: through the Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and by clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical and biologic companies. This clinical research may improve patients’ quality of life and develop new standards of cancer care for the future.

Our access to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) clinical trials is bolstered by our unique affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF), a top 10 cancer research facility, and one of just three NCI Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers by the NCI. This affiliation brings the expertise of this academic institutuion to benefit your own cancer journey at an instiution close to home.

Benefits of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that test the effectiveness of new cancer drugs, diagnostic procedures and various cancer therapies. Benefits of participating in clinical trials include:

  • Close monitoring of your case by our clinical staff
  • Some therapies and/or tests may be performed at no charge to you
  • Potential early access to new treatment therapies that may be tomorrow’s standard
  • The assurance that your participation in a trial could help future patients with cancer

Types of Clinical Trials Available

  • Preventative Trials: test various medicines, vitamins, minerals, supplements and lifestyle changes that may lower the risk of cancer or treatment side effects
  • Treatment Trials: test new treatments- new cancer drugs, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, or new combinations of different therapies.
  • Screening and Observational Trials: test the best way to detect cancer, focusing particularly on finding cancer in its early stages.
  • Quality of Life Trials: investigate the ways to improve the comfort and quality of life for cancer patients.

Deciding to Take Part in a Clinical Trial

When you need treatment for cancer, you may want to think about joining a clinical trial. Like all treatment options, clinical trials have possible benefits and risks. By looking closely at all your options, including clinical trials, you are taking an active role in a decision that affects your life.

Possible Benefits

  • You will have access to a new treatment that is not available to people outside the trial.
  • The research team will watch you closely.
  • If the treatment being studied is more effective than the standard treatment, you may be among the first to benefit.
  • The trial may help scientists learn more about cancer and help people in the future.

Possible Risks

  • The new treatment may not be better than, or even as good as, the standard treatment.
  • New treatments may have side effects that doctors do not expect or that are worse than those of the standard treatment.
  • You may be required to make more visits to the doctor than if you were receiving standard treatment. You may have extra expenses related to these extra visits, such as travel and childcare costs.
  • You may need extra tests. Some of the tests could be uncomfortable or time consuming.
  • Even if a new treatment has benefits in some patients, it may not work for you.
  • Health insurance may not cover all patient care costs in a trial.

Who Can Join

Every clinical trial has a protocol, or study plan, that describes what will be done during the trial, how the trial will be conducted, and why each part of the trial is necessary. The protocol also includes guidelines for who can and cannot take part in the trial. These guidelines are called eligibility criteria.

Common eligibility criteria include:

  • Having a certain type or stage of cancer
  • Having received (or not having received) a certain kind or number of therapies in the past
  • Having specific genetic changes in your tumor
  • Being in a certain age group
  • Medical history
  • Current health status

Requirements such as these help reduce the medical differences among participants in the trial. When people taking part in a clinical trial are alike in key ways, researchers can be more certain that the results are due to the treatment being tested, and not due to other factors.

If you are interested in joining a clinical trial, you will undergo medical tests that determine whether you meet the eligibility critera to participate in the trial.

Open Trials

The Martin-O’Neil Cancer Center has several trials open to participation for various cancers. Ask your doctor if there is a potential trial for you and our Research Coordinator can discuss it more fully with you.

You may also visit ClinicalTrials.gov. There you will be able to see clinical trials that are open around the United States and by entering your disease and stage of disease can see others that you may be eligible for.

Additional Information

Request More Information about Clinical Research Today

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The Martin-O’Neil Cancer Center values your privacy and handles your personal information with care. Your email address and information is secure, confidential and will not be sold to any third party sources.

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