What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. They are the final step in a long process that begins with research in a lab and animal testing. Many treatments used today are the result of past clinical trials.
Clinical trials are designed to answer questions about new ways to:
- Treat conditions and diseases
- Find and diagnose disease
- Prevent disease
- Manage symptoms of a disease or its treatment
Why are clinical trials important?
Advances in medicine and science are the result of new ideas and approaches developed through research. New treatments must prove to be safe and effective in clinical trials with a certain number of patients before they can be made widely available.
Through clinical trials, researchers learn which approaches are more effective than others. This is the best way to test a new treatment. A number of standard treatments were first shown to be effective in clinical trials. These trials help us find new and better treatments.
What are the potential benefits of participating in a clinical trial?
- You may gain access to new drugs and other treatments, sometimes years before they are widely available.
- You will be monitored closely for any side effects.
- You will have the chance to take an active role in your own healthcare.
- You will be making a valuable contribution to cancer research.
What are the possible risks of participating in a clinical trial?
- A clinical trial can sometimes require more time and medical attention than normal care. This can include doctor visits, phone calls, more treatments, a hospital stay, or a more complicated treatment regimen. (Ask your doctor for information about the trial you are considering.)
- The treatment might not work.
- The treatment might cause serious side effects.
- Even if a new approach helps some patients, it might not help you.
How do I know if I’m eligible to join a clinical trial?
All clinical trials have guidelines spelling out who can participate. These are called eligibility criteria. The factors that allow you to participate in a clinical trial can include age, gender, the type and stage of your disease, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions.
Following eligibility criteria helps us keep you safe and ensures that researchers learn the information they need.
What questions should I ask to know if a clinical trial is right for me?
Before enrolling in any clinical trial, here are a few questions to ask the research team:
What is the purpose of this study?
How will the study benefit me?
What are other treatment options?
How long is the study?
Has this treatment been tested before? What were the results?
What kinds of tests and treatments will I receive?
How will I know whether the treatment is working?
What kinds of follow-up tests and treatments will be done?
What are the risks?
What is my risk if I get usual care instead of the treatment?
Where are BrUOG clinical trials offered?
BrUOG cancer clinical trials are available at our our hospital sites in Rhode Island including Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Newport Hospital, Hasbro Children's Hospital and Women and Infants Hospital. Some of our trials are also multi-site trials offered at collaborating institutions across the country.
How do I find out about available clinical trials?
Talk to your doctor or see our list of cancer clinical trials available with BrUOG, Lifespan and Care New England