Clinical Trials & Research in Cancer

Clinical cancer trials open to patients

Even at advanced centers with the most up-to-date care, not all cancers of course can be controlled or cured.  Sometimes, when standard care is not adequate or individuals want to avail themselves of the most cutting-edge treatment approaches – or contribute to expanding knowledge of cancer treatment – patients may chose to participate in investigational treatments.  In these cases, they have the opportunity to enroll in treatment still under research and not in standard use.  Networks of cancer centers provide these trials to offer another option for patients and to discover new and more effective types of care. 

But to access these clinical trials, patients must seek care at qualified, participating centers, and they must match specific requirements for eligibility.  Type of cancer, stage of cancer, and previous treatment are among criteria often considered for grouping patients for new and promising variations or strategies of care.  Many of the trials represent partial adjustments to established approaches to cancer treatment.
Clinical trials offer the potential for patients to benefit themselves and other patients as well.
Aria’s Cancer Center – and its radiation oncology, medical oncology, and surgery departments – actively participates in such trials, as part of its role as a leading community cancer center and member of a number of cancer networks.  When Aria cancer doctors deem a patient eligible or potentially eligible for an open clinical trial, they contact the Center’s clinical trials coordinator, who assists in reviewing the eligibility criteria with physician and patient, determining any additional testing needed, explaining the trial to the patient, and completing consent and enrollment steps.  

The Clinac
radiation therapy unit.

The coordinator follows the patient through the trial care, visits patients during treatment appointments, and generally serves as an important contact and resource for them during investigational care.  The coordinator helps to record the course of the treatment and its outcomes, and submit the results for eventual analysis.

Just like any types of care, clinical trials provide no guarantees of success or improved effectiveness, but they provide a choice for patients who may not have other steps available to them, who want to contribute to care development, or who want to appreciate the possible benefit of innovations in care.  In some cases, trial treatment can prove successful or otherwise improve a patient’s length of survival or time until recurrence.

For more information on clinical trials, please call 215-612-5296.

>> Learn more: read What are Clinical Trials