Through the Colorado Cancer Research Program, patients at the Dorcy Cancer Center can access new and exciting clinical research projects. These clinical trials are seeking new ways to effectively treat various types of cancer. Explore this section to learn more about clinical trials in general and how trials may be able to help you specifically.
What is a Clinical Trial?
Clinical trials are research studies involving oncology patients. Clinical trials are designed to determine if new cancer drugs, technologies, diagnostics or other treatments are safe and effective. Clinical trials are intended to answer specific questions regarding how best to use new diagnostics or treatments, usually in combination with other standard treatments.
How Clinical Trials Benefit Patients
The Dorcy Cancer Center offers clinical trials to our patients in order to:
- Improve upon standard treatments to hopefully allow patients to feel better and live longer
- Advance knowledge in ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer
- Give patients access to the latest treatments so they don't have to travel for care
Types of Clinical Trials
There a number of different types of clinical trials. These include:
- Diagnostic or screening trials: to identify new techniques for finding cancer sooner with the goal of improving survival rates.
- Prevention trials: to test different ways and/or medicines to prevent cancer from developing in patients who are at high risk.
- Supportive care of quality of life trials: to find ways to deliver relief from cancer symptoms or side effects of treatment such as nausea, pain or fatigue.
- Survivorship and quality of life trials: to measure how well patients are coping with their cancer diagnosis, treatment, side effects and recovery.
- Treatment trials: to answer specific clinical questions related to new drugs or combinations of drugs compared to standard drug treatment protocols.
Different Phases of Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are divided into four phases.
- Phase I: These treatments have only been studied in the laboratory. First in human testing, these studies are designed to learn how the human body responds to a drug.
- Phase II: This type of trial takes the information learned in Phase I and refines the dose and schedule of administration in order to monitor how the disease responds to treatment.
- Phase III: This type of trial takes what is learned in Phases I and II testing of a drug or treatment and compares it to standard therapy. It is the most commonly offered clinical trial and generally enrolls a large number of patients.
- Phase IV: This type of drug or treatment trial uses a drug already approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration based on what has been learned in Phase III testing. The manufacturer of the drug is now seeking to learn even more about its use.