CHCWM – Cancer & Hematology Centers of West Michigan

Clinical Trials

CHC patients benefit from a range of clinical trials that you would typically find only at large academic research centers.

At CHC, our clinical trials give patients access to the newest treatments and therapies.

Our centers participate in all phases of clinical trials for cancer patients, and we are involved in many Phase I trials with our START Midwest program, part of the world’s largest Phase I clinical trial network.

What are the different “phases” of clinical trials?

Phase I trials evaluate a treatment’s safety, dosage, and side effects. Before Phase I, treatments are tested in the lab on animals, and the drug has been deemed safe for use in humans. Phase I trials involve a small number of patients (20-80) for whom standard therapies have proven ineffective. The primary goals of a Phase I trial are to determine a drug’s safety and adequate dosing and schedule of administration.

Phase II trials determine the effectiveness of a treatment in a specific patient population at the dose and schedule defined during Phase I testing. The number of patients participating in a Phase II trial will be higher than in Phase I.

Phase III trials involve a much larger number of patients (several hundred to a thousand) and are the final stage of drug development leading to FDA approval. These trials are often conducted by large pharmaceutical companies across many countries and serve as a final test of a drug’s safety and efficacy.

Phase IV trials begin after a treatment has been approved by the FDA. In Phase IV, the treatment will be given to a much larger group of patients. Additional information will be gathered regarding its effectiveness, previously unknown side effects, and safety issues that may have been difficult to observe in a smaller sample of patients.

We encourage patients to talk to their physicians about when a clinical trial fits best into their treatment plan. You can also find details of specific clinical trials here.