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Clinical Trials

Our patients can participate in our extensive clinical trials program. At any given time, Texas Oncology has more than 150 national clinical trials available.

The trials, in Phases I – IV, examine how patients respond to different medical approaches for various types of cancer. The studies seek to address scientific challenges and identify better ways to treat, diagnose, and prevent cancer-related diseases.

We’ll discuss the benefits and risks of clinical trials with your patients. Their eligibility for clinical trials will depend on several criteria, including their age, sex, cancer type, stage of cancer, previous treatments, and general medical history.You can review our regularly updated list of clinical trials to see if your patient may qualify.

Types of Trials

Our researchers are involved in several types of clinical trials to help understand and treat cancer more effectively.

  • Prevention trials focus on preventing cancer or recurrence. The trial might focus on the use of vitamins or other medications or a change in diet or exercise to test whether it may reduce the risk of developing cancer.
  • Screening trials focus on identifying and detecting cancer in individuals who do not exhibit symptoms of cancer.
  • Diagnostic trials determine how to identify cancer using new tests. Often, these trials involve participants who show signs or symptoms of a particular cancer.
  • Treatment trials are designed to answer questions about new treatments, such as drugs, surgical procedures, vaccines, or radiation therapy and involve current cancer patients.

Phases of Trials

Clinical trials are conducted in four phases and in some cases lead to breakthrough drugs or therapies.

  • Phase I trials usually involve a small number of participants (approx. 15-50) and are designed to determine the dosage safety of a drug, the delivery method, and side effects. Once researchers have determined the appropriate dose amount, the therapy or technique moves on to Phase II.
  • Phase II trials generally test for a response and include a slightly larger group of participants (approx. 25-100), usually with the same type of cancer. The trials examine the effectiveness of the treatment and side effects.
  • Phase III trials compare a new drug or intervention with current available treatments. Patients are randomly assigned to the current treatment group or the new treatment group. Studies move to this stage only after showing promise in the earlier phases, and include larger numbers of people (several hundred to several thousand).
  • The Food and Drug Administration is involved in every phase of research and must give final approval before a drug can be released for general physician use. After a treatment has passed Phase III, it is submitted for approval by the FDA. Once the treatment is FDA-approved, it is made available to the general population.
  • Phase IV trials occur with treatments that have already been FDA-approved for standard use. These studies examine the safety and effectiveness of a treatment over a longer period of time.