Many of us may wonder what exactly clinical trials are, or more specifically, what they may involve. After all, clinical trials are a crucial component to developing new, more effective treatments that can help save lives.
Clinical trials are the study and behavioral research on human volunteers that are designed to answer specific questions about biomedical or behavioral treatment. The treatment may be a new drug or a new use for an older drug. The treatment could also be a new device or a new surgical technique. Clinical trials are an excellent way for people to help medical professionals find ways to improve cancer care, and patients benefit by having access to new cancer treatments and options not otherwise available.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), clinical trials are imperative to developing new methods to prevent, detect and treat cancer. It is through clinical trials that researchers can determine whether new treatments are safe and effective and work better than current treatments.
Chairman of Ochsner’s South Shore Community Oncology Practices, Dr. John Cole, says “Clinical trials are so important because they can help find therapies when no standard treatment exists. The advantages of clinical trials include not only getting the research opinions of those working on the trial, but also opinions from the largest group of cancer researchers across the world.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout this month, we turn our focus on breast cancer, which accounts for nearly one in three cancers diagnosed in U.S. women. Treatments, screenings, clinical trials and prevention for breast cancer and other types of cancer are being greatly improved by Ochsner’s ongoing clinical trials, which are just one piece of the puzzle in bringing new knowledge, techniques, protocols and awareness to such a widespread disease.
Ochsner Health System exemplifies how clinical research can greatly benefit a patient. With the largest clinical trials network in Louisiana, there are over 160 clinical trials currently ongoing at Ochsner that are available for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancers including breast, bone marrow, colon-rectal, prostate, pancreatic, ovarian, uterine, lung and brain. Ochsner coordinates research at numerous sites, as well, including locations in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houma, Lafayette and the North Shore. By continuing to build on its legacy to benefit its patients, Ochsner offers innovative therapies, groundbreaking medical research and the opportunity to participate in clinical research trials from multiple collaborative groups.
New personalized clinical trials at Ochsner require genetic testing in advance, and prescribe therapy specific to the patient using the latest drugs and combination therapies (chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy) to achieve improved survival and outcomes.
To learn more about what Ochsner is doing with clinical trials, visit: www.ochsner.org/cancer.