Are clinical trials a patient is offered done for the benefit of the patient or the hospital/doctor offering it? How do you know the trial is the one you should be in or would another hospital offer a different one that would be best suited?
Thank you for contacting The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center concerning clinical trials.
Clinical trials benefit both the patient and the hospital/doctor that is running the trial. The patient gets the chance to receive a new investigational drug that could help them manage their disease. The doctor is able to gather data on the drug, including toxicity and side effects. It is important to have as much data as possible so that they can extrapolate that information to determine if the drug would be beneficial to patients.
According to M. D. Anderson, "Although clinical trials offer no guarantees, scientists have a strong belief that the study drug or treatment will provide benefits equal to or better than standard care methods. If that is the case, study volunteers will be the first to receive this new modality, and will continue to receive medical checkups to monitor their progress."
To know if a clinical trial is appropriate for you, your doctor, or someone on your care team, will go over the study summary with you. The doctor has a specific type of patient that they are looking for. Each clinical trial has a strict set of inclusion and exclusion criteria that a patient must meet to qualify. The criteria includes whether or not a patient has been previously treated, how many treatments the patient has had, the type of cancer, medical status, age, etc.
It is possible that another hospital would have a trial that the patient would qualify for. This is not to say that one trial is better than the other, but that the patient may fit into both trials. That is a chance that the patient takes before they begin any type of treatment. If the patient has any concerns about their treatment, they need to discuss this with their doctor, and it is always a good idea to seek a second opinion.
You can view a list of the clinical trials that are going on through out the country by going to the National Cancer Institute at
I hope that this information is helpful. If you would like any additional information about M. D. Anderson services, programs, or appointment
information, do not hesitate to contact the M. D. Anderson Information Line at 1-800-392-1611, option 3.