A clinical trial utilizes a group of patient volunteers to measure the effectiveness of a new screening method, a new diagnostic procedure, a new drug or a new treatment plan. Today’s most common drugs, diagnostic techniques and procedures were at one time revolutionary ideas that were tested, proven and improved by the clinical trial system. In addition to coordinating our own studies (those written by University of Louisville/Brown Cancer Center physician investigators), the Brown Cancer Center also participates in clinical trials coordinated by major pharmaceutical companies specializing in oncology research and in clinical trials run by the National Cancer Institute.
As an academic medical center, we are committed to clinical trials, which result in translational research for our patients. Therefore, our patients benefit from the very latest in revolutionary treatment options, often long before they become available in non-teaching settings.
Clinical trials are conducted in four phases, as defined by the National Institutes of Health:
Researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of volunteers (20-80) for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects. When results from Phase I are promising (meaning the benefits appear to outweigh the risks), then Phase II trials may begin.
The study drug or treatment is given to large groups of volunteers (1,000 – 3,000) to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely.
Post-marketing studies outline additional information including the drug’s risks, benefits and optimal use.
To see if there are clinical trials available for your type of cancer, please use the search tool below.