A clinical trial is a type of research study that tests how well
new approaches to cancer work in people. These studies test new
methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Clinical
trials answer questions that advance our understanding of cancer,
help find better ways to ease pain and control side effects, and
identify new methods to detect cancers early.
Therapeutic: Clinical trials with therapeutic
intent using drugs, radiation, surgery, other biological agents, or
behavioral or other interventions. These are trials in which an
agent or other intervention is used with the intention to cure
cancer or to prolong the life of the patient.
Non-therapeutic: Studies not specifically
intended to cure cancer or prolong life. They can include
interventions for cancer diagnosis, prevention, or supportive care.
These studies may also involve collecting blood and tissue samples
or information from questionnaires.
Open protocols: Studies that have completed an
extensive review and approval process and are enrolling
participants. For 2009, the number of open protocols is the number
of protocols open at any time for enrollment during calendar year
2009. A protocol in the context used here is an experiment or study
seeking to answer a scientific question. The question may relate
for example to treatment for a specific disease or evaluation of
quality of life of a particular subset of patients.
We use the word "participant" instead of
"patient" because protocols are investigational studies. The
participants are volunteers in an experiment and they are informed
about this through the informed consenting process.
Adult trials include all studies open to adult registrations.
These trials may also permit pediatric registrations. Pediatric
trials include studies open to pediatric registrations (usually 18
years or younger) only.
Learn more about clinical trials at Dana-Farber and nationwide.
Entering a Clinical Trial: Is It Right for You?
Dana-Farber, in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital,
Massachusetts General Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
Center, has produced a video and educational booklet to dispel
common misconceptions about clinical trials.
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