Clinical Research Studies
Until there’s a cure for cancer, each new drug and each new treatment represent new hope. Cancer research gives patients access to cutting-edge treatments right here in Sioux Falls. It is widely known that research and clinical trials offer better outcomes and quality of life today, as well as hope for improved treatment and cures in the future.
The Avera Research Institute, in collaboration with the Avera Cancer Institute, currently has approximately 100 open clinical studies through the National Cancer Institute and industry sponsors. Patients may also participate in investigator-initiated trials – studies in which Avera physicians propose their own ideas to research.
Twelve research nurses, a research pharmacist and additional support staff coordinate trials in their area of expertise. Avera’s focus is to offer patients cutting-edge treatment options through national clinical trials, as well as to find new prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies.
What is a clinical study?
A clinical study is a research study designed to answer specific questions about vaccines, new therapies or new ways of using known treatments.
Clinical studies (also called medical research and clinical trials) are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective. Carefully conducted clinical studies are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work.
Ideas for clinical studies usually come from researchers. Once researchers test new therapies or procedures in the laboratory and get promising results, they begin planning clinical trials. Clinical trials proceed through four phases of testing:
- In phase I clinical trials, researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of people (approximately 20-80) for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range and identify side effects
- In phase II clinical trials, the study drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people (approximately 100-300) to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety
- In phase III clinical trials, the study drug or treatment is given to large groups of people (approximately 1,000-3,000 or more) to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely
- Phase IV clinical trials are done after the drug or treatment has been marketed; these studies continue testing the study drug or treatment to collect information about their effect in various populations and any side effects associated with long-term use
What are the pros and cons of participation?
It's important to note that there are both benefits and drawbacks to participation in a clinical research study. The following are a few of the pros and cons of your participation.
PRO - In addition to receiving high-quality care, there are many other benefits to participating in clinical research studies. Your participation could potentially benefit others by increasing knowledge about a disease and its potential treatments. Also, consider that as a clinical study participant, you could be one of the first participants to experience positive results from a new therapy.
CON - It is possible that new treatments may not be better than standard care, and may, in fact, be worse. Unknown side effects may be worse than those experienced with standard treatments. Also, you may be placed in a control group that receives the standard care instead of the study treatment. You may be placed in a control group and receive placebo (a sugar pill), which has no therapeutic benefit.