Cancer immunotherapy clinical trials are critical to bringing new and potentially lifesaving treatments to more patients with more types of cancer, and may represent the greatest hope for patients currently facing the disease.
Many patients, however, are not aware of opportunities to participate in clinical trials and may find it difficult to identify trials that may be appropriate for them. This section is designed to educate patients about the basics of clinical trials, why clinical trials are so critical to our work, and things to consider about enrolling, as well as to assist patients in finding clinical trials for which they may be eligible.
- Only 6 active immunotherapies have been approved for cancer, meaning that hundreds of other new and promising cancer immunotherapy treatments are only available to patients in clinical trials. Participating in clinical trials of these therapies may be the most promising option for cancer patients today, and will be critical to speeding the development and approval of new drugs for more patients in the future.
- Only 3% to 6% percent of cancer patients who are eligible for clinical trials participate; this slows the clinical development process significantly, and means that more than 90% of cancer patients may be missing out on potentially lifesaving new treatments.
- Many patients are not aware of clinical trials because their doctors do not inform them about these opportunities. We encourage patients to educate themselves about clinical trials, as well as to use our Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Finder to be matched with clinical trials for which they might be eligible, and to talk with their doctors about participating.
Why Consider an Immunotherapy Clinical Trial?
- There are still many unmet needs in cancer, especially for patients with advanced, metastatic disease. In recent years, immunotherapies have succeeded in achieving complete and durable remissions in some patients with cancers previously considered incurable.
- Many patients may be hesitant about participating in a clinical trial for fear that the treatment may be too risky or that it might come with the same, or worse, side effects as conventional treatments. Immunotherapies are generally safe, and do not confer the traditional side effects seen with chemotherapy, such as hair loss and nausea.
- Immunotherapy represents a completely new approach to cancer treatment. By participating in an immunotherapy clinical trial, you have the opportunity not only to access a potentially lifesaving treatment, but also to help advance this new approach and bring immunotherapies to more patients in the future.
What to do next
You can also find more in-depth general information about cancer clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute’s page, Learn About Clinical Trials.
If you have additional questions, contact us at CRI@emergingmed.com.