Cancer Research and Clinical Trials at St. Vincent’s

St. Vincent’s Medical Center is committed to medical education and clinical research. It is our hope to create new benchmarks that help all members of our community to improve their health and well-being. 

The Elizabeth M. Pfriem SWIM Center for Cancer Care at St. Vincent’s has numerous ongoing clinical trials that explore innovative treatments that advance our standards of care.

Several clinical trials are offered to patients who may have exhausted currently available treatments for their cancers. Participation in a clinical trial provides you or your loved ones with a unique dual opportunity to aid yourself and others while joining forces with us to win the war on cancer. To learn more, please call (203) 576-6329.


Areas of Research

St. Vincent’s medical researchers seek answers to scientific questions that ultimately result in providing better opportunities to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Areas of research include lung, breast, ovarian, pancreas, gastrointestinal, hematologic (blood), head and neck, primary brain tumors, metastatic disease and cancer survivorship.


Types of Clinical Trials

The following define types of clinical trials at St. Vincent’s:

  • 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 treatments to patients in a safe manner. 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 dosages of medications determined in Phase 1 studies to treat a defined population of patients and 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 enters into the decision regarding which is the best treatment. The results of Phase 3 trials can change how doctors treat all of their patients.

  • Phase 4 studies: These studies permit 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: These 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, while seeking 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: These trials test new treatments (for example, a new cancer drug, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, new combinations of treatments, or new methods such as gene therapy).

  • Screening trials: These trials test the best way to discover the presence of cancer, especially in its early stages.

  • Quality of Life trials: These trials, also called Supportive Care trials, explore ways to improve comfort and quality of life for cancer patients.


Open Clinical Trials

If you or a loved one is considering enrolling in a clinical trial at The Elizabeth M. Pfriem SWIM Center for Cancer Care at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, please  contact our Clinical Research Coordinator Patty Winter MSN, RN at 475-210-6329.