Clinical trials are research studies involving patients. Clinical trials help researchers test possible new treatments or new ways to give existing treatments.
What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are essential to improving understanding and treatment for leukaemia. They ensure new treatments are safe and test how well they work compared to what is currently available to patients.
By the time a potential new treatment has reached the clinical trial stage it will already have been through rigorous testing in the lab.
Clinical trials don’t just look at treatments. They might also look at ways of preventing disease, improving diagnosis and quality of life.
Clinical trial phases
Treatment trials are divided into three main stages, called phases. It can take many years for a trial to pass through all three stages.
Earlier stage trials typically include a small number of people and focus on the safety of the treatment and the best dose to give. Later stage trials investigate side effects and how well the treatment works compared to what is currently available.
Taking part in clinical trials
Clinical trials aren’t suitable for everyone. Each trial will have a specific list of criteria which details who is eligible to take part. This is often based on the type of cancer you have, the treatments already given and your general health.
Clinical trials don’t take place in every hospital. Early trials may include just a few patients in one hospital. Later stage trials could include a large number of patients across many different hospitals throughout the country or even around the world.
Your medical team will be able to tell you if there are any clinical trials that might be suitable for you.
Giving your consent
Before you decide to take part in a trial you should be given detailed information about what is involved and a chance to ask any questions.
If you decide to take part you will need to sign a form to give your informed consent. This means you understand what the trial involves and agree to take part.
If you change your mind, you can leave the trial at any time.