Clinical Trials and Research
Participation in clinical trials offers patients like you a chance to receive a new treatment that might otherwise be unavailable and opens the door to a means of continuously improving the standard of care for breast cancer patients. Numerous studies are being conducted to examine breast cancer imaging, genetics, radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, prevention, and treatment disparities. Speak with your health care team if you have questions or interest regarding any of our current clinical trials.
Our physicians work closely with partners in the pharmaceutical industry as well as cooperative groups through the National Cancer Institute. You can learn more about clinical trials by visiting the websites of such NCI-related organizations such as Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology.
Clinical trials are research studies that test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat diseases like breast cancer with the help of patients like you. Many standard therapies used in cancer treatment today began as drugs that were tested in clinical trials.
A clinical trial typically starts by testing a potential drug’s dosing, confirming its effectiveness, and looking for side effects; this is phase I. Next, the trial compares the new drug to a current therapy that is effective; this is phase II. Finally, the trial continues to test the effectiveness of the new drug with a larger group of patients; this is phase III. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) offers more detailed information about how clinical trials.
A clinical trial may provide you access to promising new treatments or approaches that are often not available outside the clinical trial setting. The treatment being studied may be more effective than the current standard treatment. Results from a clinical trial that you participate in may help others in the future and are key to moving the field of cancer research forward. Discuss your treatment options, including the possibility of participating in a clinical trial, with your breast cancer medical team. And, keep in mind that it is just a myth that clinical trials are only for people with no other options.
Deciding about a Clinical Trial
The decision to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision – and a voluntary one. A clinical trial may be appropriate for you depending on the purpose and phase of the trial. Before participating, you will need to give your informed consent and meet all the eligibility criteria for the clinical trial. Before deciding to join a clinical trial, consult with your doctor, your family members, or friends. Also, you can speak with the study research staff and ask questions about specific trials.
Ask your doctor if you may be a candidate for a clinical trial and for suggestions about clinical trials that would be appropriate for your breast cancer treatment plan. For a list of currently open breast cancer clinical trials, you can search for breast cancer clinical trials.