Why Clinical Trials are Important

Help HNCA & Others Find Ways to Help You

Clinical trials are research studies that involve patients, caregivers and/or survivors. Through clinical trials, doctors, researchers and non-profits find new ways to improve treatments and establish programs that improve the quality of life for people with diseases.

Most commonly, clinical trials are used to test the safety and effectiveness of drugs and devices. Usually, they are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and are conducted by research teams that include doctors and other medical professionals. Typically, trials are typically conducted in four phases:

Phase I:

Trials help determine the optimal amount or dose of a new therapy that can be given safely to participants. These studies typically have a small number of participants, often fewer than 20.

Phase II:

Studies continue to evaluate safety, but also begin to assess a therapy’s effectiveness. These trials typically have more participants than phase I trials.

Phase III:

Studies compare the effectiveness of a new therapy or combination of therapies with a standard treatment, and may include hundreds or thousands of participants.

Phase VI:

Trials continue to study the safety and effectiveness of a treatment after it has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

All of the phases in clinical trials are governed by strict protocols, and are overseen by many regulatory bodies, from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to small Independent Review Boards (IRBs). IRBs are a group of independent medical experts, ethicists, as well as lay people. Researchers report periodically to the IRB, outlining such things as contact with patients, the tests conducted, the results recorded and even the side effects reported

Through clinical trials, you may have access to new approaches to treating cancer that may be more effective than the current best or standard treatments. Just as you may benefit from the results of previous clinical trials, the results of current clinical trials may advance the care of all those diagnosed with cancer now or in the future, leading to improved treatments with the possibility of fewer short- and long-term side effects.

Currently, HNCA is partnering with various research entities on educating patients, caregivers and survivors on opportunities to participate in various clinical trials – some of them can be done from the convenience of your home – please contact hboykin@headandneck.org for more information.

Please also visit to www.ClinicalTrials.gov — a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. www.ClinicalTrials.gov currently lists studies with locations in all 50 States and in 200 countries.

For the best results in searching for head and neck clinical trials, please be sure to review the
www.ClinicalTrials.gov or other databases for instructions. In addition, work with your healthcare provider on specific terminology as it relates to you or your loved one’s head and neck cancer diagnosis. For additional information on clinical trials, the National Institutes of Health is also a helpful resource.

Key information to know for your head and neck cancer clinical trial search includes:
  • Histology (squamous cell carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, etc.)
  • Site of head and neck cancer (tonsil, parotid gland, larynx, etc.)
  • Recurrent or First Presentation. If recurrent, know how it was treated before (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and drugs used for treatment).
  • HPV-related

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HNCA provides me with the information and support I need. It also provides me with a medium to serve as a role model to others diagnosed with head and neck cancer.”Jason Mendelsohn
Stage-4 HPV-related oral cancer survivor

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