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Frequently Asked Questions

Who would be in charge of my care in the clinical trial?

Your doctor and nurse will care for you in a clinical trial. You may also have a Research Nurse who teaches patients about the trial and collects data from patients on the trial. A Study Coordinator may also help with scheduling for the clinical trial.

Who pays for the clinical trial?

All trials are different. A clinical trial’s sponsor will pay for experimental drugs. The clinical trial sponsor may be a drug company, the National Cancer Institute or a non-profit organization.

Your health insurance may be asked to pay for drugs that are FDA-approved and are included in the trial as well as tests, scans and doctor's visits that you would need even if you were not on the trial.

I am concerned about my insurance coverage of a Phase 1 trial. What can I do?

Our Patient Access Services staff will verify your insurance.

Will I get a placebo?

No. All patients in our Phase 1 clinical trials get the actual drug or drugs we are testing.

Would there be any follow-up after the clinical trial?

Yes, you would continue to see your doctor for treatment and follow-up care.

Would I be allowed to quit the clinical trial?

All patients in clinical trials are volunteers who can choose to quit a clinical trial at any time.

How long do I have to stay for my first visit and the evaluation?

The evaluation before starting a clinical trial often takes two to three weeks. Once on a clinical trial, you may need to stay for up to one to two months, depending on the trial. After this period of time, frequent follow-up visits may still be necessary. For most trials, the evaluation and treatment is performed as an outpatient.

Can you tell me if I am eligible for a specific trial over the phone before I come for an evaluation?

No. Your evaluation, in person, is required in order for us to provide you with a personalized treatment plan and find the trial that is best for you.

I was told that there are no more treatment options for my kind of cancer. I feel strong enough to keep fighting and I don’t want to give up. Do you have any clinical trials for me?

The Clinical Center for Targeted Therapy specializes in finding Phase 1 clinical trials for patients when all standard cancer treatment has failed. We have many Phase 1 clinical trials available. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you out of bed more than 50% of the day?
  • Do you feel well enough to travel to Houston frequently?

If you can answer “YES” to each of these questions, chances are good that we will be able to offer you a trial. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be eligible for one of our trials. Please call our Patient Access Services at 713-792-1160 for an appointment.

How long does treatment on a Phase 1 clinical trial last?

Phase 1 requirements are strict. For your safety, you will be monitored closely by our research team. You should plan for frequent visits while you are in treatment. Your first few weeks in treatment with us may require that you stay in Houston. You may stay on the trial for a long as the tumor is stable or shrinking, providing you are tolerating the treatment.

Who pays for Phase 1 cancer trials?

Some states have laws that follow Medicare guidelines requiring insurance coverage of Routine Services during a clinical trial. However, not all states have laws that require coverage during cancer trials. Some laws only cover certain trials, certain drugs or have other stipulations. You are responsible for paying for all copays, deductibles, and anything your insurance does not cover. Only some trials offer drugs free of charge to the patient and to their insurance plan.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center