You may or may not have heard of or have experience with clinical trials, but they play an integral role in the medical community’s approach to cancer care around the globe – including right here in north Georgia.
As the scientific and medical community continues to make new advances in treating diseases, clinical trials serve to gauge the effectiveness of new medicines and treatment methods – and this can make a difference for Longstreet Clinic patients.
Clinical trials related to cancer have been particularly useful in helping those affected with the disease make large strides in managing and increasingly often successfully treating the disease.
Types of Trials
If you or a loved one is suffering from cancer, finding a clinical trial that is appropriate for your particular situation may be a great option. In addition to the other treatments recommended by your doctor, medical trials could do much to enhance your treatment. Currently, there are several hundred unique cancer clinical trials going on around the nation. However, deciding which clinical research to join can be a daunting task.
At Longstreet Clinic, we are always available to help you with that decision. For instance, let’s look at some of the different types of trials available:
Arguably the most important clinical trials phase, the first level is designed to determine safety issues with the new drug or treatment. This trial is usually limited to a very small group of test subjects who have few other treatment alternatives. This portion of clinical research seeks to discover:
- Maximum treatment dosage tolerated by patients
- How the drug or treatment works in the body
- Any harmful side effects
With the treatment specifics and dosage calculations determined in Phase I, the second segment in medical trials involves a higher number of subjects, each of whom are given the treatment and observed in order to gauge its effectiveness. Typically, this phase is the best option for those patients with a rare form of cancer – those searching for new and experimental treatments.
After evaluating the effectiveness of the new treatment, researchers then compare it to existing treatments through a randomized study.
After the drug or treatment has proven effective, the manufacturer may choose to commence with a final round of trials. In this stage, a large group of participants are monitored to evaluate the continuing effectiveness and possible side effects of the drug or treatment.
Participating in Clinical Trials
If you believe that you or someone you know might be a candidate for any phase of a clinical trial or clinical research, the best thing to do is schedule an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation of your candidacy and to discuss in detail the various trials available. In addition, you will be able to determine which tests are covered by insurance and which require out-of-pocket payment.
At Longstreet Cancer Center, we are proud to partner with the Cancer Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center to offer medical trials to our patients. Currently, the Center partners with several national oncology groups and offers a wide variety of various clinical trials related to many different types of cancer. Our doctors and nurses are committed to helping you or your loved one access the very latest experimental treatments and look forward to guiding you through the clinical trial selection process.