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what are clinical trials?

A clinical trial is a careful step-by-step process that tests a new drug, vaccine, device or procedure. It helps doctors and scientists find better ways to treat patients with a specific disease or medical condition. A clinical trial helps doctors find out if a new therapy is as good as, better or not as good as available treatments.

Clinical trials allow doctors to advance the frontiers of medicine, and healthcare. They quicken the pace of medical breakthrough and innovation enabling patients to receive the very best and latest treatments for serious diseases. It is this important cutting edge research and the discovery of new medicines that can save patients lives now and in the future.

Clinical Trials: The reality

Dr Margaret Michaels from the education network to advance cancer clinical trials explains that not all doctors know about clinical trials and urges patients to take more initiative to ensure they know about all treatment options available to them.

Talking to Andy Miller from the Lance Armstrong Foundation about the reality and myths around clinical trials she emphasizes that:

  • Patients can leave a trial at any time for any reason

  • Patients will not receive placebo as this is unethical when effective treatments are available

  • Patients receive enhanced care, better than on standard therapy

Dr. Daniel Nikcevich, Medical Director of the SMDC Cancer Center in Minnesota USA, explains that sometimes a clinical trial is the best option available to a patient with cancer and sometimes it is not the best option.

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