What is a Clincal Trial?
A clinical trial is a study designed to evaluate a promising new medical treatment. It includes research done to evaluate new ways to prevent and diagnose and/or treat cancer. When clinical trials identify new and effective treatments, these treatments will eventually become the new standard of care that will be offered to future patients. Today’s standard treatments were researched and proven by clinical trials done in the past. Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of clinical trials, also called research studies, in which people take part voluntarily. Research has already led to advances and researchers continue to search for more effective approaches. Patients who take part in clinical trials have the first chance to benefit from treatments that have shown promise in earlier research. They also make an important contribution to medical science by helping doctors learn more about the disease. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers take many very careful steps to protect people who participate.
Clincal Trials in Radiation Medicine
Researchers are looking at the effectiveness of radiation therapy before/after surgery, as well as the combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Other trials are studying new drugs, new drug combinations, and biological therapies. Some of these studies are designed to find ways to reduce the side effects of treatment and to improve the quality of patient's lives. The Radiation Oncology Department and its physicians collaborate with other departments within RPCI and various external institutions to conduct cooperative clinical trials. These clinical trials are available to patients with all types of cancers. Radiation treatments are integrated with other treatment modalities, including surgery, chemotherapy, and newer molecular biology and genetic agents.
Each physician on the Radiation Oncology team specializes in a particular type of cancer. Both national and institutional studies are incorporated into their clinical practice on a daily basis.
Patient education and informed consent are an important part of the treatment plan at Roswell Park, and therapeutic options are discussed in detail before treatment begins.