Once seen as a last chance attempt for cancer patients to turn back the progression of their disease, clinical trials are becoming many sufferers initial treatment option. Clinical trials are research studies that involve humans to aid and assist doctors and researchers in developing new techniques to prevent, treat, diagnose and manage side effects for cancer patients. Trial participants receive either the standard of care or the new medication or procedure that is under study. As a participant, patients receive the latest drugs protocols and treatment procedures available to discover ways to improve the quality of life for those afflicted with the disease. While the dynamics of clinical trials pose some additional risk when compared with long used methods, clinical trials can offer an additional measure of hope for remission or a cure.
The practice of utilizing chemical therapy (Chemotherapy or Chemo) for the treatment of cancer began in the 1940’s and remains a fundamental treatment for many cancer types. Concerns over Germany’s devastating use of mustard gas during World War I, led two pharmacologists from the Yale School of Medicine, Louis S. Goodman and Alfred Gilman, to discover nitrogen mustard, as an effective treatment for cancer. Given the poisonous origin of chemotherapy, patients receiving these agents experienced severe side-effects that produced limitations on the doses and the benefits of the treatment. The ability to manage these toxicities and their negative side effects became crucial to the future success of cancer chemotherapy.