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.
Despite the potential benefits, only 5% of adults with cancer seek to participate in available clinical trial efforts while more than 60% of afflicted children receive treatment through clinical trials. A higher rate of survival among children can be attributed to the larger participation rate.
Clinical trials are sponsored by Government health organizations like the National Institute of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), pharmaceutical companies, non-profit advocacy organizations, Health Insurance Groups and private doctors. While each sponsor adopts their own unique set of criteria for patient participation, inclusion approval can be based on the types of cancer being studied and the stage of progression of the disease in each patient. Those with alternative diseases such as heart condition or a major organ failure are often excluded from a trial in order to avoid exposing the weakened patient to increased harm.
Many clinical trials are operated through NCI funded cooperative groups of doctors and other health care professionals who work together to design, develop and coordinate the effort. Regardless of a patient’s location, clinical trials are available throughout the country and are easily accessible to those wishing to participate.
Gettysburg Cancer Center (GCC), a comprehensive cancer center located in Gettysburg, PA, offers clinical trials to its patients. See what clinical trials are being offered for more information.