Posted 7/25/2014 by hhill
A few basic facts about clinical trials to remember:
1. They are designed to test new drugs or procedures or, sometimes, equipment in all areas of medicine; they are not reserved for oncology care.
2. Everything we know about what is effective has been learned from carefully designed and executed trials. We all stand on the shoulders of women (and men) who agreed to participate.
3. They are not only for very sick people. In breast cancer care, there are plenty of trials for women with early stage cancer. Examples would include the one that I participated in long ago that compared concurrent radiation and chemotherapy with the more usual first one/then the other schedule or the current trial that is comparing the benefit of tamoxifen to that of an AI plus a monthly shot to close down ovarian function for ER positive pre-menopausal women.
4. Most clinical trials do not result in final FDA approval of new medicines.. The success rate is rather small, generally quoted as under 20% for oncology drugs.