Clinical trials, also called cancer protocols or research studies, test new treatments in people with cancer. In general, clinical trials seek to answer specific scientific questions to find better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer as well as to improve overall care for people with cancer.
Clinical trials may test many types of treatment such as new drugs, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, new combinations of treatments or new methods such as gene therapy.
The search for new treatments begins in the laboratory, where scientists first develop and test new ideas. If an approach seems promising, the next step may be testing a treatment in animals to see how it affects a particular cancer in a living being and whether it has harmful effects.
Of course, treatments that work well in the lab or in animals do not always work well in people. Once a particular treatment modality proves effective in an animal model, it may then proceed to human clinical trials.
In these trials researchers will find out whether promising treatments are as safe and effective as they were in the animal studies.
More information regarding specific clinical trials offered at CoxHealth Cancer Center can be found at Ozarks Cancer Research.