ABCs of clinical trials

Cancer clinical studies are research studies that test how well new medical treatments work in people. Clinical studies may examine new kinds of screening, diagnosis, prevention or treatment. The goal of clinical studies is to increase our knowledge about cancer and develop more-effective, less-toxic cancer treatments.

Without clinical studies, new drugs and treatments could not be approved. No matter how promising a new treatment looks when tested with lab animals, it cannot be used to treat people until it has been carefully evaluated through the several phases of a clinical study. Every advance in cancer treatment in recent years has come out of a clinical study.

Take just one important example: Bone marrow transplantation, which is considered the most important advance in cancer treatment of the last quarter century. Bone marrow transplantation was developed by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, one of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s parent organizations. Without research and clinical trials, the improved outcomes and increased survival rates resulting from transplantation would not be possible.

To find out more about clinical trials, please visit our Patient Guide to Clinical Studies and please be sure to check out the list of on-going clinical trials if you or a loved one is considering a study.

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