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  • Clinical Trials: Types, Phases & Eligibility

Clinical Trials: Types, Phases & Eligibility

Types of Clinical Trials

Contact the Cancer Research Department

Phone: 320-229-4900 
We can provide more information on the clinical trials open at the Coborn Cancer Center and help determine eligibility to participate in a clinical trial.

Cancer clinical trials are research studies that focus on people diagnosed with cancer. The goal of these studies is to find better ways to treat, diagnose, and prevent cancer so that people can live better and longer. The studies also give us more information about preventing or reducing cancer risk in healthy people.  

Depending on the goals of the trial, there are several different types:

  • Treatment trials test new treatments, new combinations of drugs, new ways to deliver treatment, or new approaches to surgery or radiation.
  • Prevention trials look for better ways to reduce the risk of cancer in people who have never had it or to prevent the cancer from recurring — that is, coming back. These approaches may include medicines, vitamins, vaccines, or lifestyle changes.
  • Control trials deal with evaluation and may involve the management of the side effects of cancer and its treatment. These trials may include such things as pain management, fatigue, the psychological impact of the disease and ways to improve comfort and quality of life.

Phases of a Clinical Trial

Coborn Cancer Center conducts a majority of Phase II and III treatment trials, which involves hundreds, sometimes thousands of people with the goal of comparing new treatments or drugs to the most commonly used treatments.

  • Phase I Trial: In Phase I trials, researchers test the safety of a new drug or treatment on a very small number of people because of the unknown risks involved.
  • Phase II Trial: In Phase II trials, researchers test treatments on a small number of patients to see if the treatment works against a certain kind of cancer.
  • Phase III Trial: Phase III trials compare the results of people taking the new treatment with the results of people taking standard treatment to confirm the study drug’s effectiveness and monitor side effects among hundreds of people.
  • Pharmaceutical or Industry Trial (also called post-marketing surveillance): After a drug has been launched, pharmaceutical companies may conduct further studies of its performance, often examining long-term safety.

Who is eligible?

Each study has a specific eligibility criteria. The Coborn Cancer Center has access to the latest treatment and research trials open across the country. Patients at seven outreach sites in Central Minnesota have access to the latest research trials. Patients who are eligible and choose to participate in a research study must receive their care at the Coborn Cancer Center. Contact your doctor regarding your participation eligibility and for more research information.

Health insurance may not cover all patient care costs in a study. Coverage varies with each insurance plan. The staff at Coborn Cancer Center will assist you in checking with your insurance plan to determine coverage prior to joining any study.

Why participate? What is the commitment?

Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available and help others by contributing to medical research.