Research is vital to preventing and curing the cancers that afflict our communities. More than 18 million people in the U.S. are survivors, and many of these individuals can thank lifesaving research.1 Many effective approaches that are used in cancer care today, such as chemotherapy, cholesterol-lowering medications, vaccines, and cognitive-behavioral therapy would not exist without clinical trials and the individuals that participated in the studies.2
The Basics of Clinical Trials
What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are research studies that test a medical, surgical, or behavioral intervention in people. These trials can help determine if a new type of treatment, such as medicine, or a prevention strategy like changing a diet is more effective than the existing approaches.
What is the time commitment for a clinical trial?
Active participation in a trial can vary. Some studies only require the completion of a survey, whereas, other cases require weeks to several years. In some circumstances, patients may be followed for the duration of their lifetime.
Why are clinical trials beneficial?
Patients can be on the cutting-edge of new cancer treatments and among the first to receive breakthrough therapies. Many often enroll in clinical trials for altruistic reasons. While they hope the treatment works for themselves, they also hope the information learned from the trial helps future patients.
How many years of research goes into a clinical trial?
A new cancer drug takes about a decade or more to go through all the phases of clinical trials and then receive FDA approval.
Clinical Trials at Queen’s
The Queen’s Medical Center conducts groundbreaking research through clinical trials that advances the world of medicine. Over the years, Queen’s has treated patients with novel drugs that later received FDA approval. Many of these patients are now enjoying healthy and productive lives because of their participation in clinical trials.
In partnership with the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Queen’s Cancer Center is the selected minority-based clinical site for the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). The goal of the program is to bring cancer clinical trials to people in their own communities to improve patient outcomes and reduce cancer disparities. These trials include cancer care delivery research (CCDR). CCDR-specific clinical trials examine how social factors, financing, organizations, health technologies, health care providers, and individual behaviors affect cancer outcomes.
The oncology research department makes it possible for a wide variety of research studies to be available, from the NCI National Cancer Trials Network to pharmaceutical companies and local investigators. Queen’s team of experienced oncologists carefully select only the trials that show promise and potential benefit to patients.
How to Sign Up for a Clinical Trial
The Queen’s Oncology Research Department maintains information about available studies and identifies those within the hospital’s cancer patient program who may be eligible. Most Queen’s patients who had cancer surgery, visit the cancer center clinics, or who are seen in the radiation therapy department are automatically screened for clinical trials. Cancer treatment trials can be quite restrictive, so it is important to remember that even if patients are willing to sign up, they may not be eligible. Queen’s patients can find out more about clinical trials by clicking here or calling the oncology research department at 808-691-8548.