What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are research studies in which patients may volunteer to take part. MD Anderson uses clinical trials to find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Doctors use treatment trials to learn more about how to fight cancer. This guide is for patients who may join a treatment trial.
Clinical trials are part of a long, careful process, which may 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. Your doctor may offer you a clinical trial as a treatment option.
How am I protected?
MD Anderson’s most important job is to protect patients. First, MD Anderson protects patients in clinical trials by following well-planned protocols.
- 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, 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 MD Anderson at any time and review anything they choose related to clinical trials.
Clinical trials are at the core of MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer. They’re how we discover new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Through volunteer patient participants, we can find new drugs and treatment procedures that may benefit current and future patients. They give patients access to cutting-edge treatments that are sometimes offered at discount through a sponsor.
To better understand clinical trials and to...
Introduction to clinical trials
Find out what's involved in a clinical trial and who would be on your care team.
Is a clinical trial right for you?
Find out how we determine who is eligible to participate in a clinical trial.
Where to get good information
Find out your best sources to learn more about participating in clinical trials.
Phase I clinical trials are the foundation for how we develop new cancer drugs. Typically, they involve only several dozen patients and study a new medicine’s effect on a variety of cancer types.
David S. Hong, M.D., sat down with us to explain more about Phase I clinical trials and answer some of patients’ most frequently asked questions.
What is a Phase I clinical trial?
Phase I clinical trials are the first time...
Bringing patients new and better cancer treatments through clinical trials is what sets MD Anderson apart. It's more than a goal or a point of pride. It's a passion. And we offer more cancer trials than anyplace else.Clinical trials are the key to developing new cancer treatment options. Advances only reach patients by going through clinical trials, which are the final step in a long process to find better ways to prevent,...