At UVM Health Network CVMC you have access to National Cancer Institute sponsored clinical trials from across the country. Clinical trials – also known as research studies or research protocols – are controlled studies that evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new drugs or new treatment strategies in patients who have cancer to improve treatment over current cancer therapies. Scientists study ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, control, and treat cancer. The psychological impact of cancer and ways to improve a patient’s quality of life may also be measured. Many clinical trials study new treatments which may be studied alone or in combination with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or newer types of therapies.
Patients who participate in clinical trials receive either a promising new treatment or the best available conventional treatment. If a new treatment option is proven to work, patients who are participating in the clinical trial will be among the first to benefit. While there is no guarantee that any treatment will be successful, clinical trials have been proven to offer some of the most effective cancer treatments currently available today.
Any research involving people at CVMC must be approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is made up of doctors from different specialties, ethicists (often a chaplain), administrators, and members of the public. An IRB is required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure protection of the rights and welfare of patients who are enrolled in clinical trials.
Clinical trial patients are carefully monitored to evaluate side effects and response to therapy. This monitoring provides scientists with valuable information for documenting research results.
Are Clinical Trials Right for You?
There are pros and cons to participation in clinical trials. Every clinical trial has specific safety and eligibility criteria that define which patients can participate. While your doctor may recommend a clinical trial as part of your treatment plan, the decision whether to participate in a certain trial is ultimately yours to make.
Before making any decisions, we recommend that you have a clear understanding of the clinical trial available and the expectations of the treatment(s) involved. For more information about clinical trials at CVMC, contact the Clinical Trials Office at (802) 225-5419.
More Information About Clinical Trials
The following websites are helpful resources regarding all aspects of clinical trials:
The National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Provides a database of current clinical trials and results of recent clinical trials, and educational materials about clinical trials. (See in particular Ten Things to Know about Cancer Treatment Trials - http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/education/things-to-know-treatment-trials)
American Cancer Society
Provides everything you need to know about clinical trials, including state laws regarding insurance coverage, placebo effects, compassionate drug use, and free Clinical Trials Matching Service
A free and confidential cancer clinical trials matching and referral service provided to cancer patients and their caregivers by leading cancer information specialists at CancerConsultants.com.
Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups
A unique nonprofit organization with one mission, improving patient awareness of cancer clinical trials, facilitating access, and promoting participation.