What is a Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials for cancer evaluate the safety and effectiveness of investigational cancer therapies.

This includes new drugs; new combinations of existing drugs; new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy; and new methods of treatment, such as targeted molecular therapies or gene therapy.

Clinical trials use human volunteers in research studies to answer specific questions about promising new or experimental drugs, vaccines and other therapies.

The National Cancer Institute divides trials for cancer into four separate groups

1.  Treatment Trials

These trials examine new treatments such as new medications, new surgical approaches, new methods and/or a new combination of multiple treatments (for example: radiation treatment combined with chemotherapy treatment).

2.  Prevention Trials

These trials examine new treatments (for example: vitamins, minerals and other supplements) that physicians and medical providers believe may help a patient prevent or lower their risk to develop a particular type of illness, disease or cancer. They can help to identify a new treatment that will prevent a cancer or disease from occurring for the first time, or recurring.

3.  Screening Trials

These trials examine the best approaches to identify a certain type of illness, disease or cancer in its earliest stages. A common approach to this could be through imaging techniques such as CT scans and/or MRIs.

4.  Quality of Life Trials (also known as Supportive Care Trials)

These trials are created to examine different ways to improve or provide a better quality of life for patients diagnosed with a chronic illness, disease or cancer. They attempt to find ways for a person to maintain as close to a “normal” lifestyle as possible. One example of these types of trials is the Ependymoma Outcomes Project.

The Federal Drug Administration requires clinical trial testing, considered the gold standard for proving the safety and effectiveness of new treatments, before giving approval of drugs, biologics and medical devices in the United States.

Looking for ependymoma treatment centers?

At the CERN Foundation, we encourage all ependymoma patients to seek a medical opinion with neuro-oncologists that have experience with this disease.

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