Patients who meet certain research guidelines may be good candidates for
participation in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is an investigative
study conducted with cancer patients to evaluate a new form of treatment.
Clinical trials provide researchers with valuable information about treatments
that are not in general use; and, they provide patients with access to
the newest drugs. Most standard cancer treatments used today were first
tested in clinical trials.
Oncology Care Consultants, a group of physicians practicing at the FRHS
Regional Cancer Therapy Center, offer multiple clinical trials to their
patients. These physicians were honored by the
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) with one of nine awards designed to recognize community oncology
practices that actively participate in clinical trials.
When should participation in a clinical trial be considered?
A cancer patient may decide to participate in a clinical trial in the hope
of improving his or her chances of recovery, prolonging his or her life,
or even helping other cancer victims in the future. The results of some
trials are disappointing, while others have proven to be even more effective
than standard treatments.
How is a clinical trial conducted?
Before a new treatment is tried with patients in a clinical trial, its
promise for safe, effective use is evaluated as thoroughly as possible
in a laboratory setting. Volunteers in clinical trials are fully informed
about possible risks and benefits. They receive a strict protocol of treatment
and are carefully evaluated for side effects and complications. Trials
are repeated, the results are scientifically compared, and the research
is published for review and critique in established medical journals.
The Regional Cancer Therapy Center currently conducts clinical trials in
association with the
National Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins University and a cooperative group of medical professionals
from around the world.
Sometimes desperation may cause cancer patients to try unproven treatments
that are medically unsound and potentially unsafe.