Since starting this Cancer Clinical Trials blog in 2011, we have covered a lot of materials, provided links, and talked about the latest experimental drugs. We believe that every once-in-a-while it is a good idea to go back and review clinical trial basics.
What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are highly organized and complex experiments to test and compare new therapies in human volunteers who may or may not have cancer. Promising treatments go through a series of tests to make sure they are safe, effective, and have minimal side effects. Testing in humans is the only way to find this information. All the Standard Cancer Therapies currently in use were developed and proven effective in clinical trials. Then they were approved for general use by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration).
Why would you want to participate in a clinical trial?
You may consider joining a clinical trial if no appropriate standard therapy is available; the current standard treatment leaves room for improvement; or because you don’t need treatment right away because your cancer is slow-growing and you would like to try something new.
Many new ideas are being evaluated in clinical trials today--for a broad variety of cancers. Cancer treatment has advanced and improved rapidly in recent years.There are more cancer survivors than ever before. But many experimental cancer drugs and treatments have not yet been tested in humans because there are not enough clinical trial volunteers.
We will continue to provide a variety of information to increase your understanding and maybe even help you make personal health decisions. We welcome your questions and comments.
To put a smile on your face see Larry's latest cartoon.
To learn more about clinical trials, take a look at our book.
(c) 2012 Tom Beer and Larry Axmaker