Cancer Clinical Trials

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Cancer clinical trials and research are the basis for virtually any advancement in cancer care. Cancers commonly studied in clinical trials include:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer

Through the careful study and evaluation of new treatments and therapies, clinical trials help uncover better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

Clinical trials are research studies in which patients may volunteer to take part and are part of a long, careful process, which may involve many phases and take many years. First, doctors study a new treatment in the lab. Then they often study the treatment in animals. If a new treatment shows promise, doctors then test the treatment in people. Doctors do this in three to four steps, or phases of clinical trials. Your doctor may offer you a clinical trial as a treatment option.

At Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, eligible patients may be given the opportunity to participate in select research studies to help evaluate the safety and efficacy of new treatments and increase understanding of the ways to fight cancer.

By conducting independent cancer clinical trials as well as collaborating with physicians from MD Anderson and other nationally recognized research institutions, our patients have access to some of the latest and most advanced trials.

Learn more about Clinical Trials

The trial sponsor may pay for some of your medical care or tests. (Ask your patient access specialist about who pays for these costs before you agree to join.

Banner MD Anderson’s most important job is to protect patients. First, Banner MD Anderson protects patients in cancer clinical trials by following well-planned protocols.

A protocol:

  • Explains the treatment plan
  • Lists the medical tests patients will receive
  • Gives the number of how many patients will take part in the clinical trial
  • Lists eligibility criteria, which are guidelines to decide who may join the clinical trial
  • Explains safety information

Second, Banner MD Anderson protects patients by using a careful informed consent process.

Third, our Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) protect patients by reviewing protocols and monitoring trials. The IRBs are committees of doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers, lawyers and patients. They make sure that trials follow federal laws and that patients are protected.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) audits the IRBs’ files. Also, FDA officials may visit Banner MD Anderson at any time and review anything they choose related to clinical trials.

Each clinical trial has its own benefits and risks. You may benefit from joining a clinical trial in one of the following ways:

  • If the new treatment works, you may be one of the first people to benefit.
  • You may be able to help future cancer patients.
  • Cancer experts design the treatments used in clinical trials.

Some possible risks include:

  • Side effects may be worse than those of the standard treatment.
  • Side effects may occur that the doctor does not expect.
  • New treatments do not always turn out to be better than, or as good as, standard treatment.
  • As with standard treatment, the new treatment may not work for you even if it works for other patients.

If you are interested in one of the many clinical trials available at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, please complete this form.

Like all clinical trials, those offered through Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center are monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). This committee of doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers, lawyers and patients helps ensure patients are protected and that all federal laws are followed. IRB files are audited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which may visit the facility at any time to review programs and paperwork as well as interview those involved in clinical trials.