Cancer research and clinical trials

Cancer Research and Clinical Trials
Although many cancers can now be cured, particularly if diagnosed early, many are not. We need to continually find ways of making our treatments more effective against the cancer, and with fewer side-effects so that more patients can benefit.

Basic Cancer Research seeks to understand each cancer better, to understand how it grows and to find targets that will be susceptible to different types of treatment, which are usually drugs, but could include radiation as well.

Clinical trials are carried out to try to find out if new treatments work in patients. Often the gains for new treatments are small compared to the existing treatments, and many patients are needed to tell if a new treatment is worthwhile introducing into clinical practice usually in a randomised - controlled trial. This is a trial where two or more treatments are compared, and neither the patient or the doctor knows beforehand which treatment a patient will be allocated to so that a fair and reliable result is obtained , which can guide us in the future. At Lancashire Teaching Hospitals many patients will be offered entry into a trial, or may be recommended to go elsewhere if we do not run the best trial for you. Patient entering a clinical trial may not themselves benefit, but will help us to help future patients. Others will get access to new treatments (which may or may not be better than existing treatments earlier than otherwise.)

To help you to decide whether to take part in a clinical trial or not, we have asked one of our trial patients to explain what its like to be part of a trial and her account is in the accompanying video.