The research community is working to discover and evaluate new breast cancer treatments that might greatly improve patient outcomes and, potentially, lead to a cure. Yet many people are unaware that clinical trials are currently enrolling breast cancer patients to test such experimental therapies. Information about these clinical trials and how to participate in them is available by visiting this website.
Finding a clinical trial and successfully enrolling in one can be a time-consuming process. But for patients with breast cancer, participating in a clinical trial is often worthwhile, giving them access to experimental therapies not currently available on the market while helping the research community advance its understanding of the disease and how best to treat it.
Where to Find Out About Trials
With the rise of the internet and next-generation information platforms that directly reach out to patient populations, it is increasingly easy for people with breast cancer and other diseases to research, inquire into, and potentially enroll in clinical trials. Companies, universities, and research institutions developing treatments often have contact information available on their websites that people can use to be included in a trial. Often, medical centers conducting the trials and serving as investigational sites also have information available online on trials that are currently enrolling.
Trials conducted both in the United States and abroad are registered with clinicaltrials.gov — a U.S. government-run web resource that provides up-to-date information about the specifications and progress of clinical trials, as well as where therapies in trials are being tested and contact information. While clinicaltrials.gov is designed to serve both patients and the research community, the information there is updated by trial sponsors, and up-to-date about whether a trial is still enrolling or not.
Clinicaltrials.gov is not the only government-run resource for such information. The National Institutes of Health maintains two websites that help patients find clinical trials, one being a search engine for NIH-funded clinical research studies and the other Research Match. Similar to Clinicaltrials.gov, these sites cater to researchers as well as patients, so not all information given in these clinical trial listings is pertinent to patients.
Talk to Your Physician
In addition, your physician may have information about clinical trials, particularly if you are being treated at a major medical center or a university hospital. In fact, you may want to access the center’s or university’s website to see what kind of research is on there. For example, the University of Chicago, University of Texas, Stanford University, Cedars Sinai and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center all support a wide range on clinical trials for numerous disease. Many of the major research centers will have information on their websites, so feel free to search for this information at a cancer center closest to your home. You may also decide to travel to a trial site.
Your doctor has access to your medical history and specific information about your diagnosis, and as such is the best person to ask about participating in a breast cancer clinical trial. People with breast cancer may ask their treating physician about the possibility of enrolling in a clinical trial, and specifically about a trial tailored to their stage of disease and other characteristics of their diagnosis, such as whether their cancer is estrogen-receptor positive. Specific biomarkers may also determine who should participate in a particular trial. Your doctor may have more ideas about this.
Benefits of Participation
Participating in a clinical trial has many benefits, including access to potentially novel treatments that can provide better outcomes to those with breast cancer. Some patients often worry that they will not receive treatment if they participate in a trial. However, for cancer trials, even the comparison treatment needs to be effective. Sometimes the experimental treatment is also later made available to people placed in the comparison arm. Be sure to discuss the details of any trial that you are considering participating in with your physician and with the study organizers. Keep in mind also that participation is ultimately up to the volunteer, who can decide to be in a trial but can also drop out at any time for any reason.