Hear from some of the patients who have taken part in cancer clinical trials at the Barts Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine.
This video is spoken in English with English subtitles.
This video is spoken in Polish with English subtitles.
This video is spoken in English with Bengali subtitles.
This video is spoken in Hindi with English subtitles.
Cancer clinical trials are research studies done to improve cancer care. These can include new medicines, medical devices or surgical techniques, or even a change in lifestyle and behaviour such as diet or exercise. Clinical trials give access to potential new treatments under investigation, giving an option to people who otherwise may have limited choices. A new treatment can only be licensed for use after it has been thoroughly tested and this is done through the use of clinical trials.
Participating in a clinical trial may give you more variety of treatment options and you may have earlier access to new treatments before they are available to the wider public. When participating in a clinical trial, you often have to come to hospital a bit more often and some patients like this closer monitoring as they feel more actively involved in their care. Not to mention, by taking part in a clinical trial, you will also be contributing to the progress of cancer care and to improving the outcomes for other patients in the future. Some people find this rewarding.
At Barts we are proud to have led and conducted hundreds of clinical trials, many of which have changed practice. We have a team of doctors, nurses and trial practitioners who are dedicated to improving care for patients and delivering the trials effectively and safely.
Taking part in a clinical trial may not be the right option for you. Everyone is an individual so it’s important that you chat to your doctor and make the decision that’s best for you. Because clinical trials are research, it is not always guaranteed you will get the new drug or treatment being tested. Even if you get the standard of care arm, you will still be required to attend the extra hospital visits that a clinical trial requires, these may include more outpatient appointments, hospital stays, procedures or imaging scans.
Whilst we do trials in the hope the new treatment being tested is beneficial to patients, there is no guarantee the treatment under investigation will be any better than the standard of care option.
As with any treatment, the trial treatment might cause serious and/or unexpected side effects. Hence the need for closer monitoring mentioned earlier. The specific risks associated with any clinical trial will always be described in detail by the research team and on the informed consent form, which participants are asked to review with the research team before agreeing to take part in a clinical trial.
Most of our patients have positive experiences of clinical trials and would recommend them, but it’s important to weigh up all the information available to you to make the decision that’s right for you.
Yes, you can. You can leave the clinical trial at any stage without needing to give a reason. If you do decide to stop the trial treatment, your medical team then will talk through the next steps in your ongoing care.
Every clinical trial must be approved by an Ethics Committee of experts before we recruit patients. They will review all parts of the clinical trial to make sure it is safe, and the risks are as low as possible.
The safety and progress of clinical trials is regularly reviewed by regulatory bodies and can be stopped if there are any concerns. If this were to happen, your doctors would discuss with you the next steps in your treatment.
In general, patients are not paid for participating in a clinical trial, but certain costs may be covered including travel expenses or indirect costs of participating in a trial. The research team will talk to you about what support may be available to you if you take part in the clinical trial.
Will I be a guinea pig?
No! Trials are carefully designed, assessed and regulated so that new treatments and care improvements can be tested as safely as possible. There will be some risks – and your doctor will talk to you about these in more detail – but these are kept as low as possible.
Talk to your doctor during your appointment. We have lots of information available and your doctor/research nurse can explain this to you.
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