Cancer Research & Clinical Trials
The Cancer Center not only brings together many doctors with a common goal of comprehensive treatment of a patient's cancer, but also provides a wonderful opportunity to pursue clinical research.
National cooperative group trials are large multi-institutional trials directed at answering the most important questions about innovative treatments, and often serve to establish, through Phase 3 mechanisms, new standards of care.
These trials are designed by the best minds in oncology adn rea able to accrue large numbers of patients to answer questions definitively. St. vincent's has been participating in these types of trials for more than a decade.
Oncology (Cancer) clinical trials are research studies that explore answers to scientific questions that offer better opportunities to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer. This year, patients were enrolled in trials studying important question in lung, breast, ovarian, pancreas, primary brain tumors, cancers of the head and neck and cancer survivorship.
St. Vincent's is always researching new clinical trails for cancer patients. The high number of patients seen at our center makes it possible for us to begin searching for appropriate Phase 1 trials to offer patients who have exhausted currently available treatments for their cancers.
Our ultimate goal is to be able to offer patients access to a clinical trial from initial treatment from their cancers and subsequent lines of treatment.
Different types of clinical trials
We currently offer several types of trials including:
- Pre-clinical studies: These studies yield chemical or treatment strategies that look promising in the lab.
- Phase 1 studies: These studies are aimed at learning how to administer these substances to patients in a safe fashion. Patients benefit by being able to access treatments that are not broadly available. The medical community learns how to dose these medications, and their efficacy.
- Phase 2 studies: These studies use the dose determined in Phase 1 studies to treat a defined population of patients to assess the relative efficacy of a given strategy for a specific cancer.
- Phase 3 studies: These studies test the strategies derived from Phase 2 trials against the current standard of care, often in a randomized fashion so that no bias enteres into the decision regarding which is the best treatment. The results of Phase 3 triasl can change how doctors treat all of their patients.
- Phase 4 studies: These studies allow a novel treatment to gain traction in the community while permitting physicians to better understand the risks associated with these treatments in the real world, as opposed to under carefully controlled clinical trial conditions. Cancer treatment can be divided into initial or up-front treatment, and treatment at relapse, known as salvage, or second and later lines of therapy.
- Prevention trials test new approaches, such as medicines, vitamins, minerals or other supplements that doctors believe may lower the risk of a certain type of cancer. These trials look for the best way to prevent cancer in people who have never had cancer or a new cancer from presenting in people who have already had cancer.
- Treatment trials test new treatments (like a new cancer drug, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, new combinations of treatments, or new methods such as gene therapy).
- Screening trials test the best way to find cancer, especially in its early stages.
- Quality of Life trials (also called Supportive Care trials) explore ways to improve comfort and quality of life for cancer patients.
For a complete listing of cancer clinical trials currently available at St. Vincent's, please download the PDF file, or call the Clinical Trials office at 203-576-6329.
The Elizabeth M. Pfriem SWIM Center for Cancer Care
The Elizabeth M. Pfriem SWIM Center for Cancer Care is accredited with commendation by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.
Criteria for accreditation include a relationship with the American Cancer Society (ACS) and a representative from the ACS is a member of our Hospital Committee on Cancer.
Click in for additional information about specific cancers listed by ACS, and call the Elizabeth M. Pfriem SWIM Center for Cancer Care's referral line: 1-877-231-SWIM (7946) for more informaton.
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