Cancer Clinical Trials
Medical research finds ways to help people live longer and improve their quality of life, and manage or cure disease. Improvements to care are possible because of the people who volunteer to participate in clinical trials.
Your Opportunity to Participate
As part of the Masonic Cancer Alliance, we are committed to bringing clinical trials close to home. Our team of physicians and care staff conduct clinical trials to test potential new treatments and medications and to improve care and outcomes for future cancer patients. Find out if a trial may be right for you.
What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials test how new medications or treatments work. Patients who participate have access to these new drugs and treatments. By joining a clinical trial, you can contribute to the medical knowledge that may improve your cancer care and help future patients navigate the disease.
Who can participate in clinical trials?
Each clinical trial has its own eligibility requirements. Criteria include factors such as your age, gender, type and stage of disease, previous treatment history, and other medical conditions.
How are clinical trials monitored for safety?
All clinical trials are guided by strict rules that are monitored by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. Before they can begin, each clinical trial is approved by an institutional review board (IRB), made up of medical specialists, nurses, and other professionals. As your advocate, the IRB will only approve care that tries to answer medically important questions in a scientific and responsible way.
Will my care be provided in the same way it is for other patients?
Care for patients in clinical trials is provided in the same way standard treatment is provided.
Your physicians, nurses, and other professionals will care for you, keep you informed about your treatment, and measure your progress. To ensure reliable results, it’s important for you to follow the care team’s instructions.
What is informed consent?
Participation in clinical research is voluntary. Before you join a clinical trial, a member of the research team will meet with you to review eligibility, risks, benefits, and details of care and treatment. You will receive a consent form that explains the trial. Before signing the form, read it carefully, ask questions, and make sure you understand it. You are free to change your mind and withdraw from the clinical trial at any time.
What are the benefits of participation?
By participating in a clinical trial, you may have access to new treatments not available elsewhere. You also have access to regular, careful medical attention from a highly qualified care team. Additionally, you will contribute to cancer research, which can help other cancer patients in the future.
Are there drawbacks to participation?
New treatments aren’t always better than the standard treatments. Also, as a study participant, you may be required to visit the doctor more often than you would with standard treatment. And you may have more blood drawn for laboratory tests. Some health insurance plans may not cover all care costs involved. Before you join a clinical trial, check with your insurance provider to see what is covered. Some state and federal programs help patients pay for care costs associated with clinical trials.
Four phases of clinical trials
- Phase 1 is the first step in testing a new treatment approach in people. It determines the drug’s safety, dosage, how patients tolerate it, and whether they have side effects. Phase 1 usually involves small groups of patients.
- Phase 2 tests the safe dosage of a drug or treatment in a larger group of patients. Researchers define side effects, learn how the drug is used in the body, and discover how it helps the condition.
- Phase 3 compares the new treatment to a commonly used treatment. Some participants receive the new drug while others receive the commonly used treatment. Researchers determine if the new treatment is better than, the same as, or worse than a standard treatment. This phase may involve hundreds or even thousands of patients at multiple centers.
- Phase 4 takes place once the new treatment is approved for standard use and put on the market. We do not conduct phase four clinical trials.
Is a clinical trial right for you?
Talk to your doctor about your interest in joining a clinical trial.
About the Masonic Cancer Alliance
Too often, cancer patients have had to travel far from their homes to gain access to leading-edge clinical trials. The purpose of the Masonic Cancer Alliance (MCA) is to bring clinical trials, along with the latest prevention and screening tools and continuing education opportunities, directly to community oncologists throughout the region.
The MCA is a membership-based organization created by The University of Kansas Cancer Center that links member hospitals, physician groups, cancer support and advocacy organizations, industry, and government throughout Kansas and western Missouri.
Discoveries made in the lab at KU Cancer Center are shared with a region-wide network of MCA member hospitals and healthcare organizations to advance the quality and reach of cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivorship methods to Kansas and western Missouri.
It’s all in an effort to help these cancer care professionals provide their patients with access to the latest advancements, much closer to home.