The purpose of a clinical trial is to find a better way to prevent, diagnose or treat a disease. Clinical trials are part of an ongoing, careful research process. It is through this continual process that new treatments have improved cure rates and decreased toxicity for patients with many forms of cancer.
Types of Clinical Trials
If you care team asks you to participate in a clinical trial, that means they have decided that the trials offers the best treatment for your child's condition. Some trials test whether a new treatment is safe to give to patients (Phase I). Others seek to determine how effective a new treatment will be (Phase II). Finally, the largest trials make direct comparisons between two similar treatment options, to determine which option is better (Phase III). All three types of trials provide critical information to help us improve cancer care. Many standard treatments today are based on the results of previous clinical trials.
Why participate in a clinical trial?
Participating in clinical trials is voluntary. You can choose to stop participating in a clinical trial at any time. Your doctors and nurses want to give you the very best chance for cure. If your treatment is no longer the best option for you, both you and your doctor will discuss other options. If you decline to participate on a clinical trial, your doctor and medical team will still take the very best care of you. You will be offered the standard-of-care therapy, which is the best known treatment at that time.
The Children's Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson, through its Pediatric New Agents Program, is at the forefront of developing innovative treatments for a wide range of pediatric cancers and moving them from the lab to the clinic for maximum benefit to young patients.
You can read more about clinical trials on our main clinical trials site.
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