At Astera Cancer Care, we are committed to advancing cancer research and providing patients access to cutting-edge treatments and therapies through clinical trials.
Clinical trials are a vital part of the journey to finding better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. Clinical trials matter in our ongoing pursuit of progress.
Our approach combines the individualized attention of your care team with the expertise of a dedicated research team, ensuring you receive comprehensive support throughout your treatment journey.
Clinical trials help doctors find better treatments for cancer and other diseases. Clinical trials also help doctors learn how to prevent disease or treat symptoms and side effects.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says new drugs and other treatments must be tested in clinical trials in the United States. This must happen before the FDA approves the drug or treatment for everyone to use.
There are many types of clinical trials because doctors always need new information and cancer treatment methods. If you or a loved one has cancer, you might consider joining a clinical trial to try a new drug or treatment or to help doctors develop better treatments for the future.
These clinical trials might study:
Doctors call the treatment they use already the "standard of care." They want to learn if a new drug or treatment works as well or better. They also want to learn about side effects and make sure these are not too severe.
Doctors are always looking for ways to make people with cancer feel better. For example, doctors did clinical trials of drugs to prevent nausea and vomiting. People getting chemotherapy do not usually get as sick as in the past. This is the result of clinical trials to develop anti-nausea drugs.
Today, doctors cure more than half of all cancers. However, cancer treatment can cause side effects many years later. Doctors call these side effects "late effects". They do clinical trials to prevent and treat late effects in people with cancer.
Doctors do clinical trials to find new ways to prevent cancer, reduce people's risk of cancer, or find it early. Early treatment is often more effective.
Questions they study in these types of trials include:
Most of the time, when you take part in a clinical trial, you will only be in one phase of the study. Treatments move through the phases, but patients do not.
As the patient, deciding whether to participate in a clinical trial is your decision. Ask as many questions as you need to until the answers are clear.
Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor.
Each clinical trial has its own benefits and risks. You may benefit from joining a clinical trial in one of the following ways:
Some possible risks include:
Clinical trials involve volunteers. However, not all clinical trials are right for all patients. Each protocol has strict rules that doctors must follow to decide who may join the clinical trial. These rules are called eligibility criteria. This protects patients from getting treatment that may harm them. Eligibility criteria include information about:
You and your overall health:
If you have found a clinical trial you think you want to join, talk to your doctor to see if you are eligible to participate.
The doctor and other health care staff check your health regularly during the clinical trial. Clinical trial staff include nurses, researchers, and other health care professionals.
Before you start a clinical trial, the staff will answer your questions. They review all the clinical trial information with you. If you understand and decide you want to join the clinical trial, they will help you.
During the clinical trial, the research team will check your health regularly. They will tell you about any tests and procedures you need.
The staff may check on you several weeks, months, or longer after the clinical trial. They want to know if the treatment causes any problems. They might also want to know how long it works.
It is important to tell the research team about your health during the clinical trial and later. They want to know all your health details to keep you safe.
In some clinical trials, the research team knows what treatment you get, but you do not. In other trials, no one knows, including the research team. And sometimes, everyone knows, including the patients. Talk with the research team ahead of time about the structure of the study you are interested in joining.
It might. Clinical trials give hope to many people with cancer.
If you or a loved one has cancer, your doctor might ask if you want to be in a clinical trial. If you join, you receive the same level of care as with regular cancer treatment. Also, the clinical trial treatment may help you.
You should know that it can take a long time to get the full clinical trial results. This is because the study may include hundreds of people or even thousands. It can take a long time to study all the results.
All patients in clinical trials are volunteers. You can choose to quit a clinical trial at any time, but talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can tell you how quitting the trial might affect your health and if there are other treatment options. Your decision will not change your relationship with your health care providers.
Contact us to learn more about our ongoing clinical trials and how you can shape the future of cancer care because It Matters.