What are clinical trials and why are they important?

Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if these treatment, prevention, and behavior approaches are safe and effective. People take part in clinical trials for many reasons. Healthy volunteers say they take part to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. People with an illness or disease also take part to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have added (or extra) care and attention from the clinical trial staff. Clinical trials offer hope for many people and a chance to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future.  If a new approach proves to be effective, it may become a new standard of care.

More information about clinical trials can be found here: https://www.nih.gov/health-information/nih-clinical-research-trials-you/basics

Why should I consider taking part in a clinical trial?

There are many potential advantages to participating in a clinical trial. These include:

  • The possibility of receiving new, advanced treatment or symptom management interventions only available to patients in a clinical trial
  • The ability to take an active role in decisions that affect your life
  • The chance to help others in the future by adding to what we know about treatment, symptom management, and prevention.
  • Getting a second opinion and having access to cutting-edge technologies

How do I find out if a clinical trial is right for me?

If you want to discuss clinical research trials, and you are already a patient, ask your provider at your next visit. Patients or potential patients also can call the HOA Research Department at 315-472-7504, extension 1350.You can see a list of current trials at HOA here.

If I start a clinical trial do I have to finish it?

Taking part in a clinical trial is voluntary and you can leave the study at any time.

Will I get a placebo instead of a treatment?

Placebos are sometimes used in clinical trials when the trial is looking at adding a treatment to an already approved standard of care plan. A patient who participates in a clinical trial with a placebo will receive standard of care treatment and a placebo or standard of care treatment and the investigational treatment.

When a clinical trial uses a placebo, the participating patients are well informed that what they are receiving could be a placebo and not active drug.

A placebo is designed to look like the medicine being tested, but does not contain any active drug.

Where can I find additional information about clinical trials?

There are many sources of information about cancer and clinical trials on the internet, but not all of them are accurate, reliable and up-to-date! 

We recommend that you visit the following web sites to if you wish to learn more about clinical trials and cancer research:

You may also obtain information by telephone from the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Cancer Information Service by calling 1-800-422-6237.