Understanding Clinical Trials
Clinical Trial Resources
ClinicalTrials.Gov: ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world.
The Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation: This is a free service designed to help people find clinical trials that are relevant to their needs.
Start your clinical trials search
1. Find clinical trials by using our new search tool powered by trusted partner Antidote.
2. Enter “lung cancer” then specific demographic data (such as city / distance / age).
3. Click “Next” to find appropriate clinical trials via Antidote.
Clinical Trial Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Why should I participate in a clinical trial?
Clinical trials play an important role in the fight against cancer. The health of millions has been improved because of advances in science and technology, and the willingness of thousands of individuals to take part in clinical research. Clinical trials also give you the opportunity to receive drugs or therapies years before they are available anywhere else.
2. Are clinical trials only appropriate for people who have already tried all of their other standard treatment options?
For example, some patients may be eligible for a clinical trial in which a new agent is added to a standard drug in order to improve the standard drug in hope that it will result in greater benefit. Others may be able to try a promising new drug and then go back to standard therapies, which are always available if it wasn’t successful.
3. Would I have to give up standard therapy in order to participate in a clinical trial?
Not necessarily. Some clinical trials require standard therapy as a part of the study. Also, there are many nontherapeutic studies that people may not be aware of, many of which can be done while receiving standard therapy.
For example, you may have the opportunity to have your tumor analyzed and archived in a tumor registry, get involved in a study that evaluates data gathered from periodic questionnaires, or participate in a psychosocial trial in which different approaches to counseling are evaluated.
4. Will I get a placebo instead of actual treatment during a clinical trial?
In some phase III studies, there is a need to do randomization, in which patients enrolled in the trial are randomly assigned to separate groups that compare different treatments. However, you would never be offered a placebo if there’s a proven therapy of benefit for your particular situation.
A randomized trial does not compare an intervention that’s proven to work with something that might not. Rather, it’s usually offered when there is no standard of care and it would be reasonable for a patient to be placed in either treatment arm of study.
5. Will I have access to the experimental treatment once a clinical trial ends, even if it is working?
It depends on the therapy being studied, but in many cases trials are set up to continue treatment as long as people are having a beneficial response. Sometimes there’s no evidence that continuing a treatment is better than stopping it, so a trial may call for discontinuation of the drug after a patient receives the prescribed course of treatment.
In general, the only time a drug would be withdrawn from a patient –even if it is working- would be if toxic side effects or other safety issues developed in other patients requiring us to stop administering the drug.
6. Will I ever know the results of the clinical trial once it has ended?
In most clinical trials, you know right from the beginning what drug you’re going to receive, including the dose and the treatment schedule. However, some trials with two or more treatment groups are blinded, which means participants are not aware of the drug they receive during the course of the study. This is always clearly discussed at the time of informed consent, before you decide whether or not to participate.
Even if a trial provides blinded treatment, it is possible for patients to get their specific results from their treating physician if the type of therapy received in the trial will affect the next choice of treatment.
7. Do investigators conceal evidence when an experimental treatment doesn’t perform as well as expected?
All clinical trials in the United States must be registered and accessible to the public on the clinicaltrials.gov website. It is also now required for investigators to report all trial results by posting them on the site within a specific period of time after the trial ends.
8. Do I have to pay out-of-pocket for the cost of receiving treatment in a clinical trial because insurance doesn’t cover experimental therapy?
Patients do not get billed for investigational drugs or for things that are done exclusively for research. The cost section in the informed consent spells out exactly what will be billed to the patient and what won’t.
9. How do I know if I am eligible for a clinical trial?
10. Are clinical trials safe?
11. Once I join a clinical trial, can I opt out?
Leaving a study early will not result in any penalty or loss of benefits to which you are entitled.
However, if you do decide to stop participation early, talk with your doctor first to ensure your safety as you withdraw from treatments.
Napolitano, Esther. (2014, October 20). Clearing Up Myths and Misconceptions about Clinical Trials.
Retrieved from: https://www.mskcc.org/blog/clearing-clinical-trials-myths-and-misconceptions
Musial, Laurie. (2015, April 23). Myth vs. Fact: The Truth about Clinical Trials.
Retrieved from: https://www.roswellpark.org/cancertalk/201504/myth-vs-fact-truth-about-clinical-trials
FAQs About Clinical Studies. (2014, November 10).
Retrieved from: http://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/participate/faqaboutcs.shtm