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What are Cancer Clinical Trials?

Clinical Trials are research studies that involve people. Through clinical trials, doctors find new ways to improve treatments and the quality of life for people with certain diseases.

What Do Cancer Clinical Trials Test?

Researchers design cancer clinical trials to test new ways to:

  • Treat cancer
  • Find and diagnose cancer
  • Prevent cancer
  • Manage symptoms of cancer and side effects from its treatment

Are Placebos Used in Cancer Clinical Trials?

Placebos are almost never used in cancer treatment trials, in some cases, a study may compare standard treatment plus a new treatment, to standard treatment plus a placebo.

Criteria for Cancer Clinical Trials

Clinical trials have a strict eligibility criteria including certain cell types, having received certain therapy in the past, or being a certain age group. Having specific criteria also helps to ensure patient safety as well as accurate and meaningful results. Patients must give their consent to participate in a clinical trial and will be monitored closely throughout the process.

Clinical Trial Protocol

Clinical trials have a principal investigator and a plan for the trial called a protocol. The protocol explains the following:

  • What will be done during the trial
  • The reason for doing the trial
  • Who can join (eligibility criteria)
  • How many people are needed for the trial
  • Any drugs or other treatments that will be given, how they will be given, the dose, and how often
  • Medical tests that will be done
  • Frequency and types of information that will be collected about the participants

What Are the Risks and Benefits of Clinical Trials?

As with any treatment option, a clinical trial has possible benefits as well as drawbacks. Potential benefits include having more treatment options, being among the first to benefit if a trial proves to be successful, helping others by contributing to research that improves cancer treatment and having a care team with experienced research nurses. Potential risks include unexpected side effects, receiving a new treatment that may not prove to be more successful than a standard treatment.

Today, people are living longer lives from successful cancer treatments that are the results of past clinical trials.  Through clinical trials doctors determine whether new treatments are safe and effective and work better than current treatments.

About the Research Program at CHI Health

CHI Health is part of a NCORP (a national network of investigators, cancer care providers and other institutions that bring cancer clinical trials and cancer care research to a people so that they can be treated in their local communities).

CHI Health currently participates in over 130 cancer clinical trials to find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. If you have any questions about our clinical trials, visit our website or call (308) 865-7963.

Judy Mullen, LPN, CCRP
Judy Mullen, LPN, CCRP

Judy Mullen, LPN, CCRP, is a Clinical Trials Study Coordinator at CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney, NE.

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