Cancer Center

Clinical Trials

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What are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are studies in which people volunteer to test new drugs or devices. Doctors use clinical trials to learn whether a new treatment works and is safe for people. These kinds of studies are needed to develop new treatments for serious diseases like cancer. All current prescribed medications and treatments offered to patients today have gone through all of the clinical trial phases, listed in the chart below, for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

A common misconception patients may feel when offered a clinical trial is “will I be a guinea pig?” The answer is no. Clinical trials are the final step in a long process, often occurring over many years, that begins with research in a lab. Patient safety is a top priority throughout all phases of clinical trials. In fact, some patients have reported feeling as though they had an extra layer of care and attention while participating in a trial due to the added monitoring required for the trial. While there is no way to guarantee that a patient enrolled on a clinical trial is going to obtain benefit from the trial, their participation is invaluable to the advancement of science today and in the future.

Phases of Clinical Trial
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