Why Participate in Clinical Trials?

Why participate in clinical trials?

As the understanding of cancer biology continues to evolve, we continue to improve cancer care through the introduction of new and better “targeted” drugs.  Currently, there are more cancer drugs being developed than at any time in human history, due to better understanding of cancer biology and the promise of personalized medicine.  Since we are still unable to cure a majority of metastatic (stage IV) cancers, there is arguably always room for improvement in the current standard of care.  The only way to improve the current standard of care is by patients participating in clinical trials to improve this current standard.  Currently only 2-3 percent of all cancer patients nationwide participate in clinical trials.  If more patients were to participate in clinical trials, we would be able to improve cancer care at a substantially faster rate for the future generations to come.  Also, participating in clinical trials allows patients the chance to receive treatment with a drug that might otherwise not be available for many years to come.


Will I be used as a “guinea pig”?

This is one of the most common fears quoted by patients for non-participation in clinical clinical trials.  It is the moral and ethical obligation of your treating physician to ensure that you are not receiving care that is below the accepted standard of care.  Moreover, the U.S, F.D.A. as well as local Institutional Review Boards (IRB), monitor the conduct of clinical trials to ensure patient safety and ethical standards.  Cancer clinical trials are designed that patients receive treatment that is “not inferior to current standard of care”.