The need for better and more effective treatments for lung cancer remains urgent, as lung cancer continues to be the number one cancer killer, claiming more lives than cancer of the breast, colon and prostate combined.
Participating in a clinical trial is the only way to access to the very latest drugs and treatments, oftentimes years before they would become available to other providers.
What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are scientific studies involving patients that are designed to evaluate a new potential drug or therapy that’s already been studied extensively in the laboratory. The trials are conducted to determine what maximum dose is considered safe, how well it works and whether it’s more effective than current standard treatments. All drugs and treatments currently used as standard of care were once studied in clinical trials.
What are the clinical trials for lung cancer?
The robust research program at Roswell Park — with more than 20 lung cancer protocols underway — provides our patients with more options to maximize their survival, including:
- Agents for cancer prevention. Researchers have multiple trials for people at high risk for lung cancer, including studies of new and existing agents that may prevent the progression of premalignant lesions to cancer.
- New surgical tactics. Surgeons are exploring methods such as physical therapy before surgery, using laser-light therapy (photodynamic therapy) during surgery, and lung suffusion, a procedure that delivers anticancer drugs only to the lung, minimizing the exposure of the rest of the body to potential toxicity.
- Novel radiation techniques. Radiating the tumor with unprecedented precision allows radiation oncologists to deliver far higher and more effective radiation doses in fewer treatments and with decreased side effects.
- Targeted therapies. Testing new target-specific drugs and exploring ways to combine these with existing drug treatment are some of the ongoing research that aims to personalize medicine for each patient, to maximize anticancer effect and quality of life while minimizing side effects.
- Immunotherapies. One of the reasons that cancer is able to grow is because the cancer cells have fooled the immune system into thinking the malignant cells are normal and don’t need to be attacked. Trials using immunotherapy approaches aim to unmask the cancer cells, revealing them as harmful invaders, triggering and magnifying the body’s immune response.
Are you a former smoker?
You may be eligible to participate in a lung cancer prevention clinical trial. The trial aims to study whether Metformin, a common diabetes medication, effects people’s risk of developing lung cancer. Participants may help contribute to the medical advances of tomorrow.