Q. My cousin has advanced cancer. Is there a clinical trial she can get into? How do we find out?
Since clinical trials have eligibility criteria, which are specific guidelines that determine who may or may not enter a clinical trial, a good place to begin would be to have a discussion with your cousin’s doctor. It is important to know certain details about her diagnosis and, if she has already received treatment, knowledge about her treatment history is also important. Her doctor may be able to assist your cousin in finding a clinical trial that is appropriate for her.
Information about cancer clinical trials is available from the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Cancer Information Service (CIS). Information Specialists at the CIS use Physician Data Query (PDQ), a comprehensive database, to identify and provide detailed information about specific clinical trials. PDQ includes all NCI-funded clinical trials and some studies conducted by independent investigators at hospitals and medical centers in the United States and Europe. To speak with an Information Specialist and have a tailored search performed for your cousin, call 1-800-4CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
You may also search for clinical trials through the NCI’s website. The NCI offers a useful guide, How to Find a Cancer Treatment Trial: A 10-Step Guide. This resource can help cancer patients gather the information needed to search for a cancer treatment clinical trial, identify sources that list clinical trials, learn about clinical trials that may be of potential benefit, and ask questions that will help them decide whether or not to participate in a particular trial.
The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) website, ClinicalTrials.gov, lists clinical trials sponsored by the NIH, other Federal agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry for a wide range of diseases, including cancer. You may also wish to contact the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) Clinical Center, a U.S. Government facility located in Bethesda, Maryland, that treats patients in clinical research trials. To learn more about this center, read Cancer Clinical Trials at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center: Questions and Answers.