Cancer Clinical Trials FAQs

Clinical trials to give patients access to new, promising cancer treatments.

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials test how investigational medications, treatments and/or interventions work. Patients who participate have access to these drugs and treatments. By joining a clinical trial, you can contribute to medical knowledge that may improve your cancer care and help future patients battle the disease.

How are clinical trials monitored for safety?

All clinical trials are guided by strict rules that are monitored by the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

Before it can begin, each clinical trial is approved by an institutional review board, or IRB, made up of medical specialists, nurses and other professionals. As your advocate, the IRB will only approve care that tries to answer medically important questions in a scientific and responsible way.

Who can participate in clinical trials?

Each clinical trial has its own eligibility requirements. Criteria include factors such as your age, gender, type and stage of disease, previous treatment history and other medical conditions.

Will my care be provided in the same way it is for other patients?

Care for patients in clinical trials is provided in the same way standard treatment is provided. Your physicians, nurses and other professionals will care for you, keep you informed about your treatment and measure your progress. To ensure reliable results, it's important for you to follow the care team's instructions.

What is informed consent?

Participation in clinical research is voluntary. Before you join a clinical trial, a member of the research team will meet with you to review eligibility, risks, benefits and details of care and treatment. You will receive a consent form that explains the study. Before signing the form, carefully read it, ask questions, and make sure you understand it.

You are free at any time to change your mind and withdraw from the study.

What are the benefits of participation?

By participating in a clinical trial, you have access to potentially effective treatments not available elsewhere. You also have access to regular, careful medical attention from a highly qualified care team. Additionally, you will contribute to cancer research, which can help other cancer patients in the future.

Are there drawbacks to participation?

Treatments offered through clinical trials aren't always better than the standard treatments. Also, as a study participant, you may be required to visit the doctor more often than you would with standard treatment. And you may have more blood drawn for laboratory tests.

As a service to you, we will contact your insurance provider to precertify coverage related to your participation in a clinical trial. A member of our team will discuss your insurance coverage with you.

What do the different clinical trial phases mean?

  • Phase I is the first step in testing an investigational treatment approach in people. It determines the drug's safety, dosage, how patients tolerate it and whether they have side effects. Phase I usually involves small groups of patients.
  • Phase II tests the safe dosage of a drug or treatment on a larger group of patients. Researchers define side effects, learn how the drug is used in the body and discover how it helps the condition.
  • Phase III compares the investigational treatment to a commonly used treatment. Some participants receive the investigational drug while others receive the commonly used treatment. Researchers determine if the investigational treatment is better than, the same or not as good as a standard treatment. This phase may involve hundreds or even thousands of patients at multiple centers.

Want to know more? More information can be found on our Types of Clinical Trials page.


Is a clinical trial right for you?

Check our Why You May Want to Participate in a Clinical Trial page and talk to your doctor about your interest in joining a clinical trial. You can also contact our clinical trials nurse navigatior for more information at 913-945-7552 or email ctnursenavigator@kumc.edu.


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In-patient care is provided at The University of Kansas Hospital, one mile south of I-35 at 39th Avenue and Rainbow Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas. Outpatient care is provided at multiple locations throughout the area. Click here for a complete list of locations and addresses.

View Clinical Trials: This link will take you to our clinical trials look-up. Use it to find trials being offered here.

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