Clinical trials have the ability to save lives. But more often than not, people who might be good candidates for a clinical trial may not be aware of their options — or are simply afraid of the unknowns.
A clinical trial may involve testing a new drug, device or treatment option, explains Melanie Wheeler, director of ProMedica Research. “Without clinical trials, advancement in the fight against cancer and other diseases could not continue,” she says.
This week commemorates our local Clinical Trial Awareness Week. During this time, cancer patients and their families are encouraged to learn more about clinical trials, speak to research experts, and ask questions they have about specific research methods. An information booth is available at the Hickman Cancer Center treatment area on ProMedica Flower Hospital campus.
Wheeler offers a few key facts about clinical trials:
- Clinical trials are 100% voluntary: Patients are told from the beginning that their participation in the clinical trial is voluntary. They can decide to participate or opt out and receive standard of care. The clinical trial is something additional we can offer to patients. Participants are never pressured or coerced.
- Not everyone can participate: Each trial has its own set of rules, often two or three pages of inclusion and exclusion criteria, which often means the patient does not qualify for the trial. We screened over 3,000 patients in 2013 and only enrolled a little over 200. The most time consuming part of a research coordinator’s job is looking at the patient’s medical record and the requirements of the trial, ensuring the patient meets the criteria.
- There are multiple trials occurring across the region: We offer our patients a variety of clinical trials. ProMedica Research is a member site for the Toledo Community Oncology program, which offers a large set of trials directly from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and NCI sub-groups. We also have trials that pharmaceutical or device companies bring directly to us, which are often new treatments fro oncology patients.
- The end goal is finding a cure: Each trial, whether successful or not successful, answers questions and brings us one step closer to the ultimate goal of curing various cancers and other diseases.
For more information about clinical trials, please visit ProMedica Research at the ProMedica Flower Hospital’s Hickman Cancer Center now through May 23rd or anytime by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 419-291-8027.