CHC – The Cancer & Hematology Centers

Clinical Trials FAQs

Your care team can provide up-to-date information on clinical trials and how they may help you. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions.

What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a research study that has been tested in the laboratory and is now ready for patients. Clinical trials may include new drugs or interventions, as well as ways of managing side effects.

How could clinical trials help me?

Currently, more cancer drugs are being developed than at any time in human history, due to a better understanding of cancer biology and the promise of personalized medicine. Participants in clinical trials may receive new treatments that might otherwise not be available for many years to come. Depending on the trial, these treatments may prove to be more effective than standard therapy.

Will my insurance cover the cost?

It varies by the insurance company. Our financial coordinators can help you determine your coverage.

Are clinical trials only for terminally ill patients?

No. Many patients may benefit from new therapies or treatments. Each study will have eligibility requirements that define the type of participants sought.

Are clinical trials safe?

Safety is our highest concern at CHC. The trials we offer are overseen by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an institutional review board, and a physician who is specially trained to monitor clinical trials and ensure patient safety. Of course, no treatment plan is without risk. Before beginning a clinical trial, you should discuss possible risks and benefits with your care team.

What are the risks of joining a clinical trail?

While taking part in a clinical trial may give you first access to breakthrough treatments, it may also expose you to certain risks. Because these treatments are experimental, they have the potential to cause unpleasant or severe side effects. Moreover, there may or may not be any effect of the investigational drug on your cancer.

Before you participate in a clinical trial, you should talk with your care team to make sure you understand the potential risks and benefits.

How do I qualify to participate?

Qualification guidelines vary from trial to trial. Some factors we take into consideration are your age, gender, disease stage, medical condition, and other factors. To find out whether you qualify for a specific study, contact our research coordinator or your physician.

How can I learn more?

Talk with your care team about whether a clinical trial is right for you and what clinical trials are available.

You can search the clinical trials available at CHC and START Midwest here.

If none are suited to your needs, you may be able to find an appropriate clinical trial through the  National Institutes of Health (NIH).

If no trials are available that meet your needs, ask your care team about what other clinical treatments might be a good fit.

What should I know before beginning a clinical trial?

Talk to your oncologist and care team about the following questions:

  • Has the experiment or procedure been studied before?
  • In which phase is this clinical trial?
  • Who will be in charge of my care during the trial?
  • Will my care change based on my response to the treatment during the trial?
  • What are this trial’s risks and benefits?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • Who will pay for my trial?
  • Will my insurance cover the treatment?
  • Can I leave the trial if I want? Might I be asked to leave the trial?
  • Can I learn the results of the trial?

What other clinical treatments are available?

CHC patients can participate in industry and nationally sponsored research studies when appropriate. Your care team can give you all the information you need to decide whether participating in experimental treatment is right for you.

What is the difference between CHC’s clinical trials and the clinical trials from START Midwest?

CHC partners with START Midwest, which is part of the world’s largest Phase I medical oncology program. Their mission is to speed up the development of new anticancer drugs. START Midwest conducts Phase I drug development trials with the highest standards.

CHC also offers participation in a range of clinical trials sponsored by other entities.