Clinical trials are critical to the development of new
lung cancer treatment strategies. Many of these studies are currently being
conducted to find new ways to treat and ease the symptoms of lung cancer
What are Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials are research studies done to evaluate whether a drug or
treatment is both safe and effective for people. Prior to being used in clinical
trials, drugs or procedures are first evaluated extensively in the lab and/or in
animal studies. Participating in a clinical trial can provide researchers with
valuable information on new treatments; in some cases, it may also offer the
chance for a cure or improvement in a patient's quality of life that's not
provided by standard therapy. Participation in clinical trials is voluntary, and
individuals are allowed to discontinue the treatment at any time.
Are There Different Types of Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials can be categorized both by types and by phases. Types of trials
include prevention trials, diagnostic trials, treatment trials, and those
focused on methods of diagnosing cancer accurately. Clinical trials involving
cancer treatment are divided into phases, depending on how far along the drug or
procedure is in research.
Phase 1 clinical trials are the first to be conducted on humans and are designed
to evaluate safety. Phase 3 trials are done as the last step before the Federal
Drug Administration (FDA) considers approval, and are used primarily to
determine the effectiveness of a drug or procedure. It takes an average of 8
years from the time a drug or treatment enters a clinical trial until it is
approved by the FDA for use by the general public.
Types and Phases of Clinical Trials
Can I Participate in a Clinical Trial?
All clinical trials have specific requirements that must be met for individuals
to participate. Some of these are limited to certain ages, stages of disease, or
other health conditions. With lung cancer, some trials are designed to only
study smokers, and others may be limited to those who have never smoked.
How do I Know if a Clinical Trial is Right for Me?
Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is a very personal decision. A
clinical trial may offer a treatment before it is widely available, but it also
carries potential risks. Thinking about the benefits and risks of clinical
trials and asking specific questions can help you determine if a clinical trial
is right for you.
Should I Participate in a Clinical Trial?
How Do I Find Clinical Trials?
Your oncologist or cancer treatment center may recommend a clinical trial, or
you may wish to search on your own for a trial that fits your particular
situation. Several databases are available that provide lists or matching
services for those with lung cancer. A few of these include:
Lung Cancer Clinical Trial Matching Service - Several organizations including
the National Lung Cancer Partnership, the Lung Cancer Alliance, Lungevity, and
CancerCare provide this personalized confidential service to help locate
clinical trials that might be an option for you.
ClinicalTrials.gov – This directory is provided by the National Institute of
Health and lists more than 55,000 clinical trials. Trials for lung cancer can be
found by searching under "lung neoplasm."
Centerwatch: Clinical Trials Listing Service – Centerwatch provides extensive
links to clinical trials that are available internationally.
National Cancer Institute – The National Cancer Institute provides links to
thousands of cancer clinical trials; you can search by cancer type and treatment