Research & Clinical Trials
Clinical trials provide the latest in medical treatments before they are made available to the general public as standard treatment. Treatments are administered under carefully controlled conditions, which allow doctors and researchers to learn about their effectiveness, as well as possible side effects. Patients are carefully selected, to be sure the treatment is appropriate for their particular disease and current state of health. Participants will work with doctors and health care professionals at every stage of a clinical trial.
Why Participate in a Clinical Trial?
Some patients who choose to participate in clinical trials hope to get a better response to treatment or increase survival by using newer drugs or therapies. Some patients feel that participation in clinical trials will help others - family, friends, or even strangers - as well as themselves. Other patients may feel they could potentially benefit from new drugs years before the drug would otherwise be available through a doctor’s prescription - and at no cost! Many patients feel the close follow-up and re-testing schedules used to check results of the treatment on a clinical trial ensures a thorough schedule of care.
How Do I Know If I'm Eligible for a Clinical Trial?
Every clinical trial asks a question: Is this new equipment of benefit? Does this treatment have fewer side effects? Is this drug better? To answer these questions accurately, eligibility criteria are developed to assure that patients treated on the trial are similar in age, sex, stage-of-diagnosis, etc. To be eligible for a trial, you must meet these criteria. In addition, your doctor will make a decision whether to offer treatment on a particular clinical trial, based on his or her knowledge of you and your disease. While there are clinical trials available for many types of cancers and different stages of disease, clinical trials are not necessarily available or appropriate for all patient situations.
Which Trial Is Right For Me?
Your doctor and a research coordinator will work closely together to determine if there is a clinical trial that might be right for you, and for which you might be eligible. Your doctor may ask the research coordinator to be present during one of your office visits when treatment decisions are being made.
How Do I Decide Whether To Participate or Not?
Making decisions about treatment options is always difficult. Your physician may offer several different standard treatments, as well as a clinical trial. There are ethical and legal codes governing the practice of medicine and your participation in a clinical trial.
To make a good decision, you must have all the facts. Informed Consent means having a full explanation of all the potential benefits and risks of a particular therapy. You are encouraged to ask many questions, and take time to think about your options so you are comfortable with your decision. The Informed Consent process is an on-going one. Whether you take part in a clinical trial or not, any questions that arise should be asked and will always be answered. If at any time you change your decision to participate in a clinical trial, you always have the right to withdraw your consent.
National Cancer Institute Trials at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, in collaboration with various national and local research and clinical trial organizations, provides patient access to advanced medicine and information.
National trials, supported by the National Cancer Institute, are offered across the country to very large groups of patients. Frequently, newer medications which are unavailable in the general community are offered to patients through these trials.
At Alta Bates Summit, these national trials are available to patients through the following organizations:
- The Jordan Research and Education Institute (REDI). For more information, please call (510) 204-4155.
- The Sutter Health Clinical Trials website contains an online search feature. Trials are listed by disease site/tumor group.
- Bay Area Tumor Institute (BATI) . For more information, please call (510) 465-2242.
Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Trials
These are industry-sponsored trials which provide an opportunity to obtain treatment using a new medication earlier in its development and which is not yet widely available.
At Alta Bates Summit, patients may access these trials through The Jordan Research and Education Institute (REDI). For more information, please call (510) 204-4155.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Trials
Complementary and alternative medicine includes a diverse group of medical and health care practices and products that are not presently considered to be part of standard care. Standard medical care, such as chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy, and surgery, consists of therapies and procedures that are based on well-established scientific evidence. It is important that the same scientific evaluation that is used to assess conventional approaches be used to evaluate CAM therapies.
The National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine sponsor or co-sponsor various clinical trials to study CAM therapies for cancer. It is important that patients inform all of their health care providers about any therapies they are currently using or considering to help ensure a safe and coordinated course of care.
National Collaborative Groups
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center works with the following national groups to cooperatively conduct clinical trials. These national groups rely on rigorous clinical standards to guide their trials and we are proud to be a part of their research efforts.
- ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group)
- COG (Children's Oncology Group)
- CTSU (Clinical Trials Support Unit, National Cancer Institute)
- NSAPB (National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project)
- RTOG (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group)
- SWOG (SouthWest Oncology Group)
- ACOSOG (American College of Surgeons Oncology Group)
Talk to your doctor about the possibility of participating in a cancer clinical research trial, or for more general information about clinical trials please call (510) 204-3428 . In the meantime, visit the linked websites listed above to search a list of current and available trials.