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The Importance of Cancer Clinical Trials

Cancer Clinical Trials: Learn how everyday heroes help scientists at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey find better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose and manage symptoms of cancer.

At The Cancer Institute of New Jersey clinical research is key to better understanding cancer -- a collection of diseases that takes the lives of nearly 17,000 Garden State residents each year.  With more than 150 active clinical trials, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is leading the way toward uncovering new methods of treatment and providing comprehensive cancer care to patients throughout the state. 

But translating this information from ‘bench to bedside’ is impossible without the everyday heroes who volunteer to help our physician-scientists fulfill this mission. Those who step up to participate may not fully understand what a clinical trial is.  Simply put, clinical trials are research studies involving people that help investigators find better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose, or manage the symptoms of cancer.

With any clinical trial, there are both potential benefits and potential risks.  Some individuals may choose to take part in a clinical trial because either there is no standard, widely-accepted treatment for their type of cancer or the standard therapy is not working.  Being on a clinical trial provides some the advantage of access to effective therapies that perhaps are years away from being available to the general public.  And as with any treatment option, whether it is through a clinical trial or not, there are always risks.  Before deciding to participate in a clinical trial, one should have a comprehensive discussion with their healthcare team about potential risks and whether they may outweigh the benefits of the trial. 

Along with benefits and risks, other questions one might ask are why the trial is being done, what tests are involved, and how being on the trial could affect one’s daily life.  All of these are important considerations when deciding whether a clinical trial is the right treatment option.

Many of the treatments we have for cancer and other diseases are the result of a clinical trial.  Without volunteers to help scientists rigorously examine both the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, we would not have the life-saving medicines we have today.

For more information on cancer clinical trials offered at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, visit www.cinj.org/clinical-trials/clinical-trials-overview.

Susan Goodin, PharmD, FCCP, BCOP, is the deputy director at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and associate director of clinical trials and therapeutics, as well as a professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

kathleen gregorin February 22, 2013 at 07:37 PM
My daughter Jill, is on a clinical trial at CINJ. Dr. Tan is her physician. I cannot thank her doctors and CINJ for all they do to keep her feeling good and living life. I thank God for them everyday.

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