Clinical Trials for Cancer Treatment: What They Are and Why They Matter


Clinical trials are essential to cancer care, helping to find better ways to prevent and treat the disease. Whether it’s finding new drugs to help shrink tumours or a new type of chemotherapy that reduces symptoms such as vomiting, every study improves our understanding of cancer. It makes treatment options available for more people. Clinical trials of treatment help doctors see the effectiveness of a drug or any treatment.

What Are Clinical Trials?

A clinical trial is a research study done in people to evaluate new or existing medicines, medical devices, biologicals, vaccines, and surgical and other medical treatments and procedures. For example, the study needs people of all ages and ethnicities to determine how cancer affects them. The results of these studies can help doctors develop new treatments that work with everyone, regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity.

What are the Different Phases of Clinical Trials for Cancer Treatment?

If you have a new type of cancer, you will likely be offered the chance to take part in a clinical trial for cancer treatment. This is an excellent opportunity to have the latest and most effective treatment for your cancer. Before the authorities can approve a drug or treatment, it must go through 3 phases of clinical trials. 

    • Phase 1 – Testing safety
    • Phase 2 – Testing dose and method
    • Phase 3 – Comparison
    • Phase 4 – Investigate to find benefits and side-effects

Phase 1 – Testing Safety

In this first phase, doctors are testing a new treatment to determine if it is safe for people with cancer. They may ask you to have extra scans and to give your blood or tissue (biopsies), so they can work out what is happening with your body. 

Phase 2 – Testing Dose and Method

This second phase involves larger groups of patients with a specific type of cancer. They are treated with the dose and method that was found to be the best in the first phase I study. Doctors may randomly assign people to different treatment groups to see which works better.

The treatment may have some side effects that are not yet known or that might be caused by something else. 

You will usually be given a small dose of the drug being tested during the trial. This means you will be away from your family and friends, or if they are close by, they might have to come to visit you at the hospital.

Most phase II trials are done in major cancer centres, community hospitals or doctors’ offices. They can last for a long time, sometimes several years.

A placebo is often used in place of the actual drug to control for the side effects of the treatment. This makes the trial safer for you and the researchers. 

If there are any serious side effects, doctors will monitor you closely and try to reduce the side effects. They might have to increase your dose of the medication or stop it altogether if they think it is too much.

Phase 3 – Comparison

It involves a comparison of new drug treatment with the standard one.

Phase 4 –  Investigate to find benefits and side-effects

This phase includes the investigation of the long-term advantages and side effects of using new drug treatment.

Why Are Clinical Trials Important?

Allow researchers to try new treatments – The main reason that clinical trials are essential is that they allow doctors or researchers to try new medicines, treatments, and devices before they become available to the general public. This gives patients a chance to test and compare different treatments for their illness or condition and allows researchers to learn more about how medicines work in our bodies.

Help to know the treatment’s effectiveness- Another reason clinical trials are essential is that they help us ensure that our treatments are safe and effective. 

How To Join Or Enrol In A Clinical Trial?

Once you’ve decided that you would like to participate in a trial, you need to contact your healthcare professional. They can help you with the procedure to enrol in clinical trials for your cancer therapy.

You need to sign an informed consent form that tells you the trial’s purpose, how it will work, and the benefits and risks. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and will have the option of leaving if you’re not comfortable with the study.

You’ll then have regular appointments with your oncologist or doctor to monitor your health. These meetings can be long or short. Depending on the trial, they may be at your home or the hospital.

Regular checkups are a good way for you and your doctor to track how the new drug works. They can also spot any side effects or problems before they happen.

If you’re having side effects or other problems, your doctor may be able to recommend a new drug or treatment that will make the problem go away. This is called targeted therapy.

When to Consult a Doctor

You can also get in touch with the expert Oncology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.


Many of the drugs doctors use today were tested and approved in clinical trials. Whether you’re newly diagnosed with cancer, have cancer that isn’t responding to other treatments, or are considering a treatment for a family member, you should talk to your healthcare team about joining a clinical trial. 


Q. What is the eligibility to participate in a clinical study?
A. To be eligible for a clinical trial, you must meet specific standards, such as age, gender, the type and stage of your disease or health condition, and previous treatment history.

Q. What are the benefits of enrolling in clinical trials?
A. By participating in a clinical trial, you can access the newest and most effective treatments for your specific type of cancer. This gives you the best chance to beat your cancer or improve your quality of life.

Q. How many phases are in clinical trials?
A. Clinical trials comprise 4 phases:

    • Phase 1 – Testing safety
    • Phase 2 – Testing dose and method
    • Phase 3 – Comparison
    • Phase 4 – Investigate to find benefits and side-effects

Q. Why are clinical trials necessary for cancer treatment?
A. These studies give researchers much information about the drug’s efficacy and side effects. They also help them find ways to make the drug or treatment more effective.


Narayana Health

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