Doctors all over the world are conducting many types of clinical trials (research studies in which people volunteer to take part). Clinical trials are designed to find out whether new treatments are safe and effective.
Doctors are studying new drugs, other treatments, and their combinations, including combinations of surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and radiation therapy.
Testing of a new cancer drug or treatment is done in phases in order to assure the safety of patients. The different phases in a trial are as follows:
- Phase 1 trials: Researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of people for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range and identify side effects.
- Phase 2 trials: This phase’s focus is on safety and whether the drug or treatment works in people who have certain diseases or conditions. For example, participants receiving the new drug or treatment may be compared with similar participants receiving a different drug or treatment.
- Phase 3 trials: In this phase the drug or treatment is given to a large group of people to confirm effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare to commonly used drugs or treatments and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely.
- Phase 4 trials: Phase 4 studies are conducted after a drug or treatment has been approved for use in the general public. These studies are used to provide more information about side effects; what the long term risks and benefits are; and how well the drug or treatment works when it’s used more widely.
Even if the people in a trial do not benefit directly, they may still make an important contribution by helping doctors learn more about cancer of the pancreas and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, doctors do all they can to protect their patients.
If you’re interested in being part of a clinical trial, talk with your doctor.