Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. They are the final step in a years-long process that begins with research in a lab and animal testing. Many treatments used today are the result of past clinical trials. Clinical cancer trials are designed to answer questions about new treatments or new ways of using an old treatment and how well they work. These trials may test drugs or vaccines, ways to do surgery or give radiation therapy or combinations of many treatments. Your doctor may offer you the option to join a clinical trial as part of your treatment plan.
Clinical cancer trials follow very strict rules, called protocols, that are overseen by a governing scientific and ethical body. The protocol will determine who can participate in the trial and help make sure the trial is safe and has accurate and meaningful results.