Research & Clinical Trials
New cancer treatments must be shown to be safe and effective before being made widely available. A Clinical Trial is a research study conducted with patients, usually to evaluate a new treatment. There are many types of cancer clinical trials. They range from studies for prevention, detection and treatment of cancer to studies which ease the distress of the disease and improve comfort and quality of life.
Each study is designed to answer scientific questions and to find new and better ways to help cancer patients. Only patients who wish to, take part in a clinical trial. One of the benefits of taking part in a clinical trial is that the participants are among the first to receive new research treatments before they are widely available. However, there are often side effects to the treatment which also need to be considered.
Promising new cancer treatments are tested in a series of steps called phases.
A Phase I trials is first step in testing of a promising new cancer treatment. A small group of patients is treated with varying dosages of a drug. Phase I are typically conducted in research institutes, such as Roswell Park. Our affiliation with Roswell will serve as a pipeline to bring promising drugs to our community.
Phase II trials test a new drug in patients with a particular cancer diagnosis. Phase III trials compare a new treatment to older, standard therapy. The Lipson Cancer Center has been a long-standing participant in Phase II and III trials.
An example of a recently completed trial that has changed medical practice is the ATAC trial for postmenapausal women with breast cancer. This trial accrued over 9000 women from around the world, and the Lipson Cancer Center was the lead facility in Rochester in contributing to that trial. Data from this trial have led to the approval of Anastrazole as the currently most potent hormonal medication used to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer. In a separate series of phase III trials, the Lipson Cancer Center was the first upstate New York cancer center to offer Herceptin to patients with recurrent breast cancer. Currently, the Lipson Cancer Center is one of a few sites nation-wide that make the promising drug Alimpta available for patients with malignant mesothelioma.
Clinical trials offer much appreciated treatment options for the patient with a cancer diagnosis. Participation is, of course, voluntary, and can begin only after a complete informed consent process. The research staff and the medical staff at the Lipson Center have completed Human Subject Protection training and take their responsibilities very seriously. Safety of clinical trials is closely monitored by Institutional Review Boards and other agencies.
Clinical trial research is a key component of the activities of the Lipson Cancer Center – bringing the best of the investigational treatments from academic centers and pharmaceutical developers to our community.
For more information, contact us at (585) 922-4020 or visit the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Web site.