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What to Expect

Our goal is to provide the highest possible standard of care while ensuring your safety in a Phase 1 clinical trial. It will take 2 to 3 weeks to perform your workup, find a study, get insurance clearance and begin treatment. You may be required to travel frequently to MD Anderson or stay in Houston, particularly in the first 1 to 2 months of the trial. 

While there is no guarantee that we can find a study for every patient, we have a high success rate for matching patients with an appropriate trial. We cannot select a study before the patient is seen here.

Clinic Visits

Phase 1 clinical trials involve early experimental drugs, so your appointments will require ongoing re-evaluation of your medical situation. Some of this will be done behind the scenes while you wait. The evaluation process may take 2 hours or more for each visit.  

At each clinic visit, you may be seen by one or more the following health care team members.

Clinic Nurse will:

  • Take your pulse, temperature and blood pressure
  • Take your medication history

Physician’s Assistant, Advanced Practice Nurse or Fellow will:

  • Review your records
  • Take your medical history and physical
  • Review your laboratory test results

Research Nurse or Study Coordinator will:

  • Determine your eligibility for all current studies being conducted in the Center, and during follow-up visits will review your records for medication side effects and outcomes

Phase 1 Physician will:

  • Meet with other team members to discuss results, treatment changes or continuation plans
  • May consult with your referring physician
  • Review all scans, clinical dictation and laboratory tests
  • Perform measurements on tumors seen on X-rays and scans
  • Determine which study you are eligible for and which is best for your cancer

During follow-up visits, your Phase 1 physician will review the information collected by other team members, monitor your response to treatment, manage side effects and plan for continued therapy or new treatment options. 

Financial Considerations

Experimental medication is free of charge to patients or insurance plans, but FDA-approved drugs used in our clinical trials are generally not free. Standard services, including but not limited to doctor visits, scans and blood work are not free while on a clinical trial, even if the drugs used are experimental.  However, many insurance plans do cover these services.  

Our Patient Access Specialist will check your insurance plan and let you know of any services that are not covered. You are financially responsible for any services not covered by insurance.

For questions regarding insurance, contact the Clinical Center for Targeted Therapy Patient Access Services at 713-792-1160. 

Request an Appointment

  • Call Yolanda Villanueva at 713-792-1160
  • Visit our Contact Us page for a checklist of information we'll need for your first appointment

Find Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that test new cancer drugs, diagnostic procedures and therapies on humans.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center