Searching for a clinical trial may involve searching websites, calling companies, or asking your doctor for informationÂ
No single resource lists every clinical trial (clinicaltrials.gov is the most comprehensive). The process may involve searching the Web, calling pharmaceutical companies or asking a doctor or cancer center for information.
Patients should begin with their oncologist‚ who should not only be able to tell them if something is available locally‚ but also give them resources on what is available in other parts of the country. Although it may be time-consuming to search for clinical trials at each location, patients will probably want to start with facilities closest to home. Patients who are looking for a particular drug may want to contact the pharmaceutical company directly for the best information.
Fewer trial locations will be available for drugs in early-phase testing, so patients may have better luck with late-phase trials, which are conducted in multiple sites across the country. Patients with an extremely rare cancer, recurrent disease or who are not responding to standard treatment may find only a few institutions where a new approach to their disease is in clinical trials.
Each trial has its own eligibility criteria and often has restrictions based on the type and stage of cancer‚ age‚ previous treatment received and current health status. Patients should have their medical history accessible when searching for clinical trials because eligibility requirements may disqualify them from participating in certain trials. Once they have found a number of trials they may qualify for, patients should discuss them with their doctor and contact the study coordinators.
Patients should check online services and with their doctor for information on how to participate in a clinical trial. Online search engines can identify trials relevant to a patient’s medical needs that are currently enrolling participants.