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Childhood Cerebral Astrocytoma
Every successful cancer treatment being used today started as a clinical trial,
a three-step research process to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a
new treatment. Patients who participate in these successful trials are the first
to benefit from the new therapy.
take place in many hospitals and cancer centers across the country, making it
possible for doctors to use the newest treatments to care for cancer patients.
Each carefully planned study is designed to answer certain questions and to
find out specific information about how well a new drug or treatment method
All new treatments go through three steps or phases of clinical trials:
- Phase I trials are the first studies in people to evaluate how a
new drug should be given (by mouth, injected into the blood, or injected into
the muscle), how often the drug should be given, and what dose is safe. Phase
I trials usually enroll only a small number of patients, sometimes as few
as a dozen.
- Phase II trials continue to test the safety of the drug and begin
to evaluate how well the new drug works. Phase II studies usually focus on
a particular type of cancer.
- Phase III trials test new drugs, new combinations of drugs, or new
surgical procedures in comparison to the current standard for treatment. A
participant will usually be assigned at random (called randomization) to either
the standard treatment group or the new treatment group. Phase III trials
often enroll large numbers of people and may be conducted at doctors' offices,
clinics, and cancer centers nationwide.
All clinical trial participants receive the best care possible, and their reactions
to the treatment are watched very closely. If the treatment does not seem to
be helping, a doctor can take a patient out of a study. A patient also may choose
to leave the trial at any time. If a patient leaves a research study for any
reason, standard care and treatment are still available.
Clinical Trials at
The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center
This page was last updated on:
September 22, 2009.