One of the best ways to receive cutting-edge treatment for your cancer is to participate in a clinical trial. Saint Francis Medical Center’s Cancer Institute offers a wide variety of clinical trials for people with many different kinds of cancer.
There are three types of clinical trials: A phase 1 trial examines the safety of a drug, a phase 2 trial tests a drug’s effectiveness and a phase 3 trial compares a safe, new treatment with the standard treatment for a specific disease. Patients at Saint Francis typically participate in phase 3 trials.
“Through a clinical trial at Saint Francis, you may be receiving tomorrow’s treatment today,” says Justin D. Floyd, DO, medical oncologist and hematologist at Saint Francis. “Another big advantage is having multiple people monitoring your care – research nurses, data managers and many other investigators.”
Many of today’s clinical trials focus on individualizing patient care. For example, one open trial for women who have lymph node-positive breast cancer is examining how a person’s genes affect what kind of treatment she needs. Currently, the standard of care is for all patients to receive chemotherapy. However, it may not be necessary for some women.
“We can potentially save these patients from the toxicity of chemotherapy because we will show it is not beneficial in those patients,” says Floyd. “That is the big push in healthcare right now – tailoring care to the individual patient.”
“Clinical trials are beginning to target smaller subgroups of patients,” Floyd continues. “Instead of studying 500 women who all have breast cancer, we may look at just 20 women who all have the same type of cancer that is affected by a certain intervention. Using this technique, we can see big differences in that small population that might have been lost in a big study.”
If you have cancer and are interested in participating in clinical trial, talk to your doctor about what clinical trials are available for your type of cancer. “Here at Saint Francis, we have access to many clinical trials that will give you the personalized care you need,” says Floyd.
For more information, call 573-331-3996.