Cancer Care

  Lee Riley, MD, PhD
  Darius Desai, MD
  Susan Chang, MD

801 Ostrum Street
Bethlehem, PA

(610) 954-2140

(610) 954-6055

St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network


Clinical Trials

What is a clinical trial?
A clinical trial is a research study in patients to answer specific health questions. Clinical trials are used in cancer patients may have different goals.  Some clinical trials are trying to determine if medicines can prevent cancer from occurring, these trials are called prevention trials.  Other trials are trying to determine if new therapies should become the recommended treatment for patients with cancer.  These trials are divided into three phases.  Phase I trials are used when a new medicine is first being tested in humans, the main goal of this trial is to determine what the side effects are.  Even though previous studies in animals will have shown that the drug is expected to be safe, researchers must do phase I studies to make sure that there are no major side effects at the doses used, or that that are no unanticipated side effects.  Phase II studies main goal is to determine how well the medicine fights the cancer.  Phase III studies are done to compare the new treatment with the current standard treatment.

Usually, patients with cancer can be treated with standard proven therapies.  If these therapies are not very good, or if the standard therapies have not worked, then clinical trials should be considered. 

Should I participate in a clinical trial?
Patients often have concern about participating in clinical trials:  they don't want to be a "guinea pig."  However, patients should be made aware that clinical trials are very useful for individual patients as well as for the community.  Patients on clinical trials typically do better than similar patients not on clinical trials, even when they are receive the same therapy.  This most likely results from the careful follow-up, additional testing and reporting systems required by clinical trials.  These trials have advantages for future patients as well... if it were not for clinical trials, physicians would still be treating breast cancer with radical mastectomies instead of breast conserving surgery.


Links to Clinical Trials

NCI Trial Site Center Watch Clinical Trials
Oncolink Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG)
ACOSOG - American College of Surgeons Oncology Group Children's Cancer Group (CCG) European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
Gynecologic Oncology Group The International Oncology Study Group (IOSG) Home P National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG)
The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) NCI: Cooperative Human Tissue Network North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG)
Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG


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