About Clinical Trials

Your doctor may suggest you participate in a clinical trial (also called a research study or protocol).

Clinical trials are used to test and develop new treatments. The goal of these trials is to find ways to improve treatment. While a trial or study is active or In progress we will not know whether any potential benefit has been found. The trial must be closed and the data analyzed before the treatment is made widely available to patients.

There may be some additional risks associated with research. Your doctor will discuss in detail with you both the potential risks and benefits of joining the trial. Your written permission will be given before you can start on a clinical trial.

Oversight committees at the University of Michigan Medical Center conduct an extensive review of all clinical trials. These committees include an Institutional Review Board or IRB composed of other cancer doctors, doctors in other specialties and lay people. The IRB reviews all clinical trials before they are available to patients and again at different times during the research. This ensures that the clinical trial remains safe for patients.

All patients who are on a clinical trial receive the best supportive care possible. Their reactions to the treatment are watched closely. A doctor can stop the treatment if it does not seem to be working. The patient may choose to leave the study at any time. If a patient leaves a study for any reason, standard care will be started.

Clinical trials are voluntary. Your cancer will be treated whether you decide to join a trial or not. Talk to your doctor about any questions you have regarding clinical trials at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Learn more by visiting An Introduction to Clinical Trials.

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