Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are studies that evaluate the effectiveness of new drugs or treatment strategies. The development of more effective cancer treatments requires that new and innovative therapies be evaluated with cancer patients. Each clinical trial is designed to find new or better ways to treat cancer patients. In oncology, clinical trials are especially important because, in the absence of high cure rates, nearly all therapeutic approaches are developmental in nature.

Currently, there are hundreds of ongoing clinical trials in the United States. Although clinical trials are an important component of cancer care and are crucial for improving cancer treatment, fewer than 5% of cancer patients currently participate in clinical trials because they are uninterested or unaware that they exist, have difficulty finding an appropriate clinical trial that may be of benefit to them, or are ineligible to participate in a clinical trial because of prior treatment interventions1 .

Beaumont Hospitals, with three hospitals in the northern Detroit suburbs serving southern Michigan and beyond, is a highly productive contributor to clinical trials across the nation (search the available clinical trials at Beaumont). The Beaumont Research Institute, established by the hospital’s Board of Trustees in 1966, strengthens Beaumont's ability to conduct medical research and to provide a research training experience for the medical staff and participants in graduate medical education programs.

What are the different types of clinical trials?

A clinical trial is one of the final stages of a long and careful cancer research process. Studies are done with cancer patients to find out whether promising approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are safe and effective.

What are Clinical Trials?

What are the phases of clinical trials?

Most clinical research that involves the testing of a new drug progresses in an orderly series of steps, called phases. This allows researchers to ask and answer questions in a way that results in reliable information about the drug and protects the patients. Most clinical trials are classified into one of three phases:

  • Phase I trials: These first studies in people evaluate how a new drug should be given (by mouth, injected into the blood, or injected into the muscle), how often, and what dose is safe. A phase I trial usually enrolls only a small number of patients, sometimes as few as a dozen.

  • Phase II trials: A phase II trial continues to test the safety of the drug, and begins to evaluate how well the new drug works. Phase II studies usually focus on a particular type of cancer.

  • Phase III trials: These studies test a new drug, a new combination of drugs, or a new surgical procedure in comparison to the current standard. A participant will usually be assigned to the standard group or the new group at random (called randomization). Phase III trials often enroll large numbers of people and may be conducted at many doctors' offices, clinics, and cancer centers nationwide

In addition, after a treatment has been approved and is being marketed, the drug's maker may study it further in a phase IV trial. The purpose of phase IV trials is to evaluate the side effects, risks, and benefits of a drug over a longer period of time and in a larger number of people than in phase III clinical trials. Thousands of people are involved in a phase IV trial2.

1: http://sarahcannonresearch.com/for-patients/clinical-trial-faqs.dot
2: http://clinicaltrials.gov/

Beaumont Clinical Trials

The Beaumont Research Institute, established by the hospital’s Board of Trustees in 1966, strengthens Beaumont's ability to conduct medical research and to provide a research training experience for the medical staff and participants in graduate medical education programs.

Search Beaumont's Clinical Trials

St Joseph Mercy Oakland Clinical Trials

More than 150 clinical trials available for every stage of cancer - from prevention and symptom management to treatment.  Their major affiliate is Mayo Clinic, although they offer trails from every national cooperative in the country.

Search St. Jospeph Mercy's Clinical Trials: http://www.mcrconline.org