Clinical trials are essential to changing medicine. UCI providers offer and design trials to give patients access to cutting-edge treatment that has shown promise in the laboratory or other clinical research. If you are interested in learning more about our clinical research or getting involved at UCI, ask your radiation oncologist.
The clinical faculty at UCI are all engaged in creating and designing clinical trials that focus on increasing our patients’ survival and quality of life at UCI. These investigator-initiated protocols take priority because of their potential to immediately impact patient outcomes. The clinicians also collaborate with cancer biologists at UCI to incorporate novel drugs, biomarkers, and therapeutic approaches that have shown promise in the laboratory for tumors that have been historically difficult to treat. As a result, patients are offered premier treatment derived from cutting-edge science and technology developed at UCI. The Department is also a full member of the NRG Oncology, which provides patients additional trials for both commonly seen and rare tumors.
Cancer specialists regularly conduct studies to test new treatments. These studies are called clinical trials. Clinical trials are available through cancer doctors everywhere- not just in major cities or in large hospitals. Some clinical studies try to determine if a therapeutic approach is safe and potentially effective. Many large clinical trials compare the more commonly used treatment with a treatment that cancer experts think might be better. Patients who participate in clinical trials help doctors and future cancer patients find out whether a promising treatment is safe and effective. All patients who participate in clinical trials are carefully monitored to make sure they are getting quality care. It is important to remember that clinical trials are completely voluntary. Patients can leave a trial at any time. Clinical trials testing new treatments are carried out in phases:
- Phase I - Is the Treatment Safe?
As the first step in testing the research, doctors gather information about the side effects of the treatment and decide on the safe dose. Only a few patients in a few places take part in a Phase I trial.
- Phase II - Does the Treatment Work?
In this step, doctors test the treatment to see how well it works. Most of the time, fewer than 100 patients are involved in Phase II trials.
- Phase III - Is the Treatment Better?
Phase III trials compare the new treatment against the current standard therapy and randomly assign patients into one of the two groups. Many people from all over the country take part in these trials.
- Phase IV - Are There Better Ways to Use the Treatment?
In this final step, treatments are tested to make sure they are safe and work well over a long period of time. This phase most often occurs once the new treatment has been approved for standard use. Anywhere from several hundred to several thousand people are enrolled in a Phase IV trial.