Clinical trials are the final stages of cancer research that assess a potential new drug or therapy that’s already been studied extensively in the laboratory. Trials are carefully monitored scientific studies that involve patients and offer the earliest access to these newest treatment options.
Trials are conducted to determine a treatment’s proper dose, how well it works and whether it’s more effective than current standard regimens. All drugs and treatment approaches currently used as standard of care were once studied in clinical trials.
Because chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a disease of lymphocytes, many clinical trials for patients with lymphoma are also available to patients with CLL.
Why it matters
Participating in a clinical trial is the only way to access the very latest options, oftentimes years before they become available to other providers. If you have CLL, you need the very best treatment today, not years from now.
Through clinical trials, Roswell Park patients were among the first to benefit from these game-changing treatments:
- Rituximab (Rituxan), the first monoclonal antibody approved to treat patients with B-cell lymphoma.
- Cladribine (Mavenclad), used for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), acute myeloid leukemia and other conditions.
Currently,Roswell Park researchers are developing new approaches for treating CLL, including:
- Combining targeted agents such as BTK and BCL2 inhibitors with monoclonal antibodies targeting CD20. It’s hoped that this combination will have fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
- Creating new drugs for patients whose bodies may no longer respond to BTK or BCL2 inhibitors.