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About Cancer Trials

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About Cancer Trials

Cancer patients at Memorial Hermann have access to appropriate clinical trials through their doctors. Any patient participating in a clinical trial at Memorial Hermann receives the standard-of-care treatment, in addition to the new therapy under consideration. When a proven standard-of-care treatment seems to provide insufficient attack against a patient's cancer, qualified patients can be enrolled in ongoing community-based trials.

Types of Trials and Research

Clinical trials are research studies intended to answer scientific questions about human populations, molecular interactions, specific aspects of tumor cells or advancing cancer treatments. There are several different options available:

  • Studies looking at potential causes of cancer and how to prevent them (epidemiological studies)
  • Studies preventing cancer (preventive trials)
  • Clinical studies to treat patients who have previously had cancer (vaccines or combinations to prevent the cancer from coming back)
  • Treatment studies studying new anticancer drugs or combinations

Cancer Treatment Trials

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer and are interested in pursuing a clinical trial, you should find out more about treatment studies available. Remember today's treatments were developed through clinical trials. However, it is important to understand the different types of clinical trials available to patients.

FDA Approval

The development process for cancer drugs is long and expensive. The ultimate goal is to receive drug approval by the Food and Drug Administration to treat different tumor types and clinical situations (early disease, advanced disease, after surgery, etc). During this process, several opportunities to access these investigational drugs are available.

Phase 0

These are studies generally conducted in healthy volunteers or cancer patients with indolent disease looking at the properties of a new anticancer drug or imaging technique before the actual treatment regimen is planned.

Phase I

These trials are the earliest form of research in humans. They usually test new agents or combinations of anticancer drugs looking for toxicities and how well tolerated these agents are. Newer anticancer drugs have increased chances of helping patients and fewer incidences of making them sicker. Careful follow-up of patients usually takes place. Usually fewer than 50 patients take part in these trials.

Phase II

Once the ideal dosing schedule and toxicities are established, investigators look at the drug's efficacy in patients with a specific type of cancer. These studies usually involve less than 100 patients.

Phase III

Once the drug or combinations of drugs prove to be efficacious, it is compared with the standard treatments in a large trial. Usually several hundreds of patients take part in these trials.

Phase IV

Once approved for use in cancer patients, anticancer drugs continue to be monitored for safety for several years after their initial marketing.

Available Trials

Current clinical trials and research projects are available for the following cancers. Use our search tool to find your trial.