Clinical trials are part of a long process where drugs are developed and studied to determine the safety, dosages and efficacy. They may offer a patient a last hope in an otherwise exhausted list of treatment, or they may be the newest weapon in the arsenal to fight cancer and thus be the first line therapy in their treatment, according to Dr. Cindy Perkins, manager of the clinical trials program at DCH.
The clinical trials program at the Lewis and Faye Manderson Cancer Center provides patients the choice to participate in clinical trials, giving them access to experimental drugs long before they are available on the open market. Patients participating in clinical trials take new drugs as part of carefully designed studies sponsored by pharmaceutical companies or government funded agencies. The studies are closely monitored by the Food and Drug Administration, according to Perkins.
Offering patients this option means access to drugs and treatments that would not otherwise be possible due to transportation and other economic barriers. "We want to keep our patients at home for their care whenever possible" Dr. Perkins said. "They need to be with their families and other support systems during this very vulnerable time in their lives."
"Patients who choose to participate in clinical trials are assigned to receive either the experimental treatment, or they will receive standard care, which is the most currently accepted treatment regimen for a particular disease process," Dr. Perkins said. "These trials give cancer patients options and knowledge on their health care alternatives. We want to be able to provide citizens of West Alabama with the most advanced treatment options available."
"The Manderson Cancer Center already offers state of the art cancer care. The addition of a full scale clinical trials program will only augment the already outstanding care available."