The role of clinical trials in cancer treatment | Anticancerfund

The role of clinical trials in cancer treatment

Clinical trials discover, evaluate and verify the safety and efficacy of experimental treatments, such as new drugs, new approaches to surgery/radiation, new combinations of treatments or new methods. In addition to medical insights, clinical trials also offer treatment options to cancer patients who do not respond to other therapies. Clinical trials in the field of oncology aim to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer and manage patient symptoms.

The role of clinical trials in cancer treatment

Clinical trial participation

Cancer patients participate in clinical trials to benefit from experimental treatments themselves, and to help scientists understand their diseases to develop treatments for other patients. The challenges to participation include access issues like inclusion and exclusion criteria or country of residence, and an often underestimated impact on a psychosocial, financial and physical level.

“Access to new agents or strategies in the context of well-designed and carefully conducted clinical trials has more benefits than risks at all stages of the disease. Patients should ask their doctors which clinical trials are relevant for them.”

Martine Piccart
Prof. Martine Piccart, expert in breast cancer treatment

Organising a clinical trial

Conducting trials means facing diverse challenges, from the slowdowns caused by patient recruitment and the administration required by the strictly regulated legal framework, to the financial burden placed on a trial organiser, which can amount to hundreds of thousands of euro.

Due to the numerous challenges that clinical trial organisers face, some private clinics and investigators choose to provide experimental treatments outside the framework of clinical trials.

Public listings of clinical trials

Trial organisers must register their trials in a publicly available database. All privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted worldwide can be found in databases of the American Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency or the World Health Organization. Patients, families, caregivers, healthcare professionals and the public can search by country and cancer type to find studies actively recruiting participants, or learn about new treatment options that are being considered.

Public listings of clinical trials

The ACF is involved in clinical trials

Supporting and investing in clinical trials to expand treatment options for cancer patients is the Anticancer Fund’s core activity. We screen, select and zoom in on valuable research, aiming for the best use of research funds and the greatest benefits for patients.

The Anticancer Fund (the ACF) does not provide medical advice and our information does not replace medical consultation. Decisions on any treatment must always be taken after consultation with the attending physician. The ACF does not enrol patients in clinical trials. For more information on participating in a trial supported by the ACF, please contact the coordinator of the trial.