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Clinical Trials

Clnical trials are carefully conducted studies of promising new treatments. They are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work in people and to find new ways to improve health.

All of today's standard cancer treatments were first shown to be effective in clinical trials. New and better treatments for cancer will be discovered only through the continued support of patients who participate in clinical trials.

In cancer care, clinical trials also offer an important option for patients to consider. Cancer clinical trials typically compare the best known treatment to the best known treatment plus something that may be as good or better. We encourage every cancer patient to talk to their doctor about whether a clinical trial might be a good option.

Clinical Trial Safety

Before a new treatment is tested with patients, it is carefully studied for several years in the laboratory and tested for safety. This research identifies the new methods most likely to succeed and, as much as possible, shows how to use them safely and effectively.

Then, clinical trials undergo a rigorous approval process both by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and by two separate committees at Vanderbilt. One of these committees reviews the study to make sure it sound from a scientific point of view. The other committee, called the Institutional Review Board or IRB, focuses on the protection of study volunteers. The researchers and physicians who approve a study have reason to believe that it will be as good as, or better than, current treatments.

The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has a long history of excellence in conducting clinical trials. Through research and clinical trials, we have helped to advance the treatment of a number of cancers. We take great care to insure both scientific integrity and ethical conduct in all clinical trials. We are grateful to all of our study volunteers for their contributions to improving cancer care for everyone.

Clinical Trial Participation

As a patient being treated at Vanderbilt, you may be eligible to take part in a clinical trial. Patients who qualify for a clinical trial decide, with the advice of their physician, whether to participate in the study. How a treatment will work for a patient in a trial cannot be known ahead of time. Therefore, the patient will learn about both the risks and benefits of clinical trials before making a decision. This process is called "informed consent."

A patient will never be placed on a clinical trial without their knowledge or permission. All qualified patients involved in clinical trials sign consent forms before the study begins. A patient also may decide to leave a study at any time and it will have no effect on their continued care at Vanderbilt.

If you qualify, we hope that you and your family will consider participating in this worthwhile endeavor. Please talk to your doctor about clinical trials that may be available to you.

Explore Cancer Clinical Trials at Vanderbilt

The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center offers dozens of clinical trials for different cancer types, treatment approaches and stages of disease. A team of nurses and staff with expertise in cancer care and research is dedicated to connect patients with appropriate clinical trials at Vanderbilt.

Prior to your first appointment, this team will request and review all appropriate outside medical records, including imaging CDs and pathology slides, to make sure all records needed for the first appointment are available and to determine eligibility to participate in any ongoing clinical trials.

You can learn more about cancer clnical trials at Vanderbilt by calling (800) 811-8480.

You also can search the center's database of available trials here (you'll be taken to a different website that opens in a new window). You may search by cancer type, doctor's name, drug name or treatment type.