Clinical trials are medical research studies that are designed to evaluate new cancer treatments and the effects these treatments have on new patients. They are one of the most important ways a doctors have to improve care and move forward in the fight against cancer.
They are disigned to answer specific questions and give information on the safest and most effective ways to treat cancer. Patients who participate in these trials not only maake contributions to science but are made available to the general public. The Food and Drug Agency A dministration (FDA) oversees these clinical trials and allows certain promising drugs to be used before they are approved for every day use. All experiment protocols must be thouroughly assessed by the Investigational Review Board (IRB) of the hospital or institution prior to a patient entering the clinic.
A clinical trial has three stages:
The first stage – (phase 1 trials) are the earliest studies of a new treatment. The goal of this stage is to find out the proper dose that should be given to indentify potential side effects.
The second stage - ) phase 2 trial) the new treatment has been found to have some anticancer activity and is being used to treat a particular type of cancer to see how well it works and to obtain more information about its effectiveness and safety.
The third stage – (phase 3 trial) is used to see how well it works with the current standard treatment that has already been proven effective for that type of cancer. In this particular phase – doctors are trying to find out whether the new treatment is better than or equal to the one that is currently being used. These type of have two or more treatments that are being compared.
Note: It is generally a patients decision whether to enter into a clinical trial. And you will never be coerced into a trial or without your written consent. You will also be able to enter a clinical trial without any obligation and have the right to abandon the trial at any stage of the treatment.
Sources: Questions & Answers about Mesothelioma. Harvey IPass, MD. Laura Roy. RN, Susan Vento.