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 disease.
In cancer treatment, researchers design cancer clinical trials to test new ways to treat cancer. Take the development of a new anticancer drug for example. Clinical trials are conducted in human to confirm the appropriate dose, the metabolizing method, the efficacy, and the adverse reactions of this new drug.
Clinical trials usually include four phases. Phase I is usually designed to observe drug tolerance and drug metabolism, Phase II is to initially evaluate the therapeutic effect of the drug, and Phase III is to confirm the therapeutic effects of the drug. If the drug successfully passes through Phase I, II, III, it will usually be approved for use in the general cancer patients.
What cancer patients care most is that whether they can benefit from participating in the clinical trials, and the answer is positive. Take Phase III clinical trial for example. In order to know whether a drug is really more effective, comparative clinical studies are needed. All the patients involved in the trial will be divided into two groups, one group treated with new drugs, one group given old drugs. There are some benefits that cancer patients can gain in clinical trials.
Clinical trials give you access to the most standard treatment
Whether you are being assigned a new or old drug, your treatment regimen is the most standard and leading treatment in the field. Because a new drug is only meaningful when proved superior to the current best-performing treatment. Moreover, because the method of disease assessment used in clinical trials must be accepted by a large number of medical personnel, the assessment of your condition is usually the most standardized and detailed.
Clinical trials avoid no unnecessary harm to participants
The bottom line of a new drug used in clinical trials is that it can not cause unnecessary harm to the patient, and each clinical trial will have a variety of assessments including early and mid-term efficacy evaluation. If a drug is found to be ineffective in an interim analysis, it is most likely that the trial will be terminated and discontinue to be included in the patient.
Clinical trials give you access to the new treatment
Some patients may feel it unfortunate to be assigned to the group not treated with new drugs, but it is not true in fact. Due to the multi-faceted considerations, many clinical trials use crossover trial design. In the second half of the experiment, one group will be given the treatment regimen that the other group used. In other words, if you do not use a new drug in the first half period of the treatment regimen, you can use the new drug in the second half.
Clinical trials offer free experimental drugs
Generally, you need to pay for some related tests, but the drugs for clinical trials are free. If you respond well to drugs and gain good therapeutic effects, many drug manufacturers will continue to offer you drugs until the tumor is resistant to the drug. Experimental drugs are expensive, and usually not reimbursed by medical insurance, so you can find a chance to participate in a cancer clinical trial when the current treatment methods fail to control your tumor progression.
Moreover, you can decide whether to continue or not, and you can opt out at any time during the clinical trials.
If you intend to attend a cancer clinical trial, consult your physicians to find an appropriate clinical trial program and learn about the current progress of the research to see whether it is suitable for you. A program near your home is more desired because the testing involved in the clinical trial is frequent, which means you may need to travel many times. Communicate fully with the doctor regarding your condition, medication and adverse reactions.
Most importantly, you should maintain positive attitudes. Many drugs still can’t have magical effects in the cancer treatment, so enjoying every day is perhaps the most important proposition in life.