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Clinical Trial Information

The following information is from the National Cancer Institute:
Clinical trials are research studies in which people help doctors find ways to improve health and cancer care. Each study tries to answer scientific questions and to find better ways to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer.

Why are there clinical trials?
A clinical trial is one of the final stages of a long and careful cancer research process. Studies are done with cancer patients to find out whether promising approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment are safe and effective.

What are the different types of clinical trials?
  • 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.)
  • 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 to prevent cancer from coming back or a new cancer from occurring in people who have already had cancer.
  • 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.

More information about clinical trials may be found in the PAF publication "Lighting the Way... A Practical Guide to Clinical Trials".

Please be advised that this is in no way an exhaustive list of all available clinical trials in the U.S. All material is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent endorsement by or an official position of Patient Advocate Foundation. Advice on the treatment or care of a patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined the patient and is familiar with that patient's medical history.

The information, data, opinions, and statements linked to from this web site are not necessarily those of the Patient Advocate Foundation and should not be interpreted, acted or represented as such. Additionally, the Patient Advocate Foundation and its employees assume no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed herein.

The National Cancer Institute is in the process of revamping its system for developing, reviewing, conducting, and supporting clinical trials. Read more...

CancerConsultants Websites
Provides patients with an online directory of clinical trials and cancer information specialists to perform personalized clinical trial searches on behalf of patients.

Clinical Trials Search Tools
The U.S. National Institutes of Health, through its National Library of Medicine, has developed this site to provide patients, family members and members of the public current information about clinical research studies. Before searching, you may want to learn more about clinical trials and more about the site. Be sure to visit this site often as it is updated regularly.

Cancer Trials Support Unit
The Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU) is an NCI funded program to facilitate participation (by both patients and physicians) in phase III NCI sponsored Cancer treatment trials.

TrialCheck by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups
Provides visitors with information about clinical trials, cancer drugs, patient advocates and cancer research. Visitors can learn more about cancer clinical trials and search for trials. The information presented will help you to decide if a trial is right for you, a friend or a loved one.

Paying for Clinical Trials
A growing number of states have passed legislation or instituted special agreements requiring health plans to pay the cost of routine medical care you receive as a participant in a clinical trial. “Routine patient care costs" are the usual costs of medical care, such as doctor visits, hospital stays, clinical laboratory tests, x-rays, etc., that you would receive whether or not you were participating in a clinical trial. Some health plans don't cover these costs once you join a trial, even though studies have shown that they are not appreciably higher than costs for patients who are not enrolled in trials. This site provides information on state specific requirements and costs associated with participating in a clinical trial.

Search for Clinical Trials at the National Cancer Institute's website ( is a free, nonprofit, clinical trial matching service that can help you quickly and easily find breast cancer trials that might be right for you. has easy-to-read trial summaries and a secure message service for contacting participating research sites. You also can sign up for their trial alert service to learn about newly added trials that match your health history.

More Information

Access to Investigational Drugs: Q&A
A series of questions and answers provided by the National Cancer Institute pertaining to the issues surrounding access to drugs that are still considered investigational or under study.

National Cancer Institute—Cancer Centers Program
The NCI Cancer Centers Program comprises more than 50 NCI-designated cancer centers engaged in multidisciplinary research to reduce cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality.