What is a clinical trial?
Depending on the type of cancer you have, you may be eligible to take part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are the cornerstone of research investigations, where patients can volunteer to test new therapies, drugs, diagnostic tests and devices to determine their effectiveness in treating or managing cancer. Your clinician may suggest you join a clinical trial at any stage and will thoroughly discuss the potential risks and benefits with you.
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is the largest cancer clinical trials unit in NSW. Our active clinical trials program is part of our commitment to ensuring people with cancer have access to the latest treatments available.
As science progresses, clinical trials allow us to innovate, discover new treatments and remain at the forefront of evidence-based care. They are crucial to our mission to find ways to better treat people with cancer both now and into the future.
How do clinical trials work?
In Australia, clinical trials are subject to regulatory controls, rigorous ethical and governance approvals and strict safety monitoring. All medicines used in clinical trials are also regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) under the therapeutic goods legislation.
Drugs used in clinical trials are tested in micro-doses and increasing doses, usually on healthy volunteers or patients, to determine their movement within the body, how they metabolise and mix with other drugs, as well as the best way to administer them.
The later phases of a clinical trial involve refining the best dose range and regime, detect rare or long-term effects or interactions with other drugs, and trialling the drug in combination with existing products.
Your clinician may suggest that you join a clinical trial at any stage and will thoroughly discuss the potential risks and benefits. Participation in clinical trials is not a requirement of your treatment and if you do not wish to participate, this will not impact your care and treatment at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.
Why should I consider a clinical trial?
At Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, our active clinical trials program enables our public and private patients to benefit from early access to the world’s newest medications, treatments, therapies and surgeries.
Clinical trials may provide a number of benefits to the patient, including:
- Access to new treatments that are currently not available
- Improved health and well-being outcomes
- Ongoing support and monitoring by the clinical trials experts
What can I expect once I’ve joined?
As with our patient-centred approach to care, each patient involved in a clinical trial receives individualised treatment, observation and monitoring from our highly skilled research/study coordinators and specialist doctors.
Each patient is cared for by their clinical trial study coordinator and study doctor who provide close monitoring throughout participation in the study to ensure the safety of each participant.
The clinical trial coordinator is a central point of contact to provide assistance, seamless treatment, follow up and long term care.
What if I can no longer participate?
If you are involved in a clinical trial and feel you are no longer able to participate for any reason, you may withdraw at any stage without affecting your care or relationship with Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Ultimately, our clinical trials may help to improve the quality of life for some patients and lead to better outcomes, however we understand everyone is different, and will support you to make an informed decision.
Where to from here?
If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, speak with your treating oncologist or GP to see if there are current trials you may be suitable for. While you may not be suitable for a particular trial at this time, as a patient at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, our team will continue to provide with you the best possible care and treatment.