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Cancer Clinical Trials

What Is a Clinical Trial?

Cancer clinical trials and research are the basis for virtually all advancement in cancer care. 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 can be a long, careful process. Often, they include many phases and last for many years.

Clinical trials may be conducted for any type of cancer, but the cancers most commonly studied are:

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

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 Cancer Center and other research institutions recognized nationally and worldwide, our patients have access to some of the latest and most advanced trials.

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Being in a Cancer Clinical Trial?

Each clinical trial has its own unique benefits and risks.

Benefits of joining a clinical trial may include:

  • Being one of the first people to benefit from a new treatment
  • Helping future cancer patients
  • Having some of your medical care or tests paid for by the trial sponsor (Be sure to ask about who pays for these costs before you agree to join)
  • Treatments designed by cancer experts

Some possible risks include:

  • Worse side effects than those from the standard treatment
  • Unexpected side effects
  • 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

Are Cancer Clinical Trials Paid?

The trial sponsor may pay for some of your medical care or tests. Before you join a trial, be sure to find out about any possible coverage opportunities.

What Kind of Protection Is Offered During a Clinical Trial?

We take the protection of our patients very seriously. First, all of our cancer clinical trials follow a well-planned protocol.

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, we utilize a carefully informed consent process throughout every trial.

Third, like all clinical trials, those offered through Banner MD Anderson 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.

Interested in Participating in a Cancer Clinical Trial?

Learn more about joining a clinical trial or find a current clinical trial.