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Participation in a trial

 

1. Why are there clinical trials?
2. Why is it important to participate in a clinical trial?
3. What are the benefits of a clinical trial?
4. In what way does a clinical trial differ from a 'standard' treatment?
5. What information do I need to obtain before and during a trial?

 

1. Why are there clinical trials?

 
The search for new medicines starts with fundamental research in laboratories. Researchers attempt in laboratories to discover why and how a certain disease occurs. If they succeed, the next step is to develop a suitable treatment with medicines. What is developed in the laboratory must after all still prove its effectiveness in the clinic. This is achieved in clinical trials; study-based research in clinics.

 

2. Why is it important to participate in a clinical trial?

 
Most people with cancer want to know the best treatment for their disease. The answer is mostly due to fellow sufferers who went before you and who have opted to participate in a clinical trial. After all, a great deal can be improved in cancer therapy and we are constantly working to determine the best therapy for your disease.
Studies with cancer cells on a petri dish, in a test tube or in mice, however, do not always correspond to what happens in reality with cancer patients. Participation in trials is the only way of obtaining more information and improving the treatment of cancer patients.

 

3. What are the benefits of a clinical trial?

 
Through clinical trials, the following can be achieved: 

  • Patients gain faster access to new, promising treatment methods;
  • It sometimes emerges from a trial that a specific treatment that appeared promising is either not effective or unnecessary;
  • The study results can result in determination of a new treatment standard for a specific form of cancer;
  • A trial is a first step in making fundamental research (= research into the occurrence of cancer and possibilities for treating cancer) available for clinical practice;
  • The results of a trial eventually lead to good practical medicine.

  


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4. How does a clinical trial differ from ‘standard’ treatment?

 
If you participate in a clinical trial, you will receive more examinations and visits from the treating specialist than you would if you do not participate in a trial.

Trials are more often carried out in a specialist cancer centre or a university (academic) hospital than ‘standard’ treatment. Nonetheless, it is also possible to participate in trials in general hospitals.

If you do take part in a trial, you will be informed in more detail than is normal for a ‘standard’ treatment. Another difference is that you must give explicit permission to participate in the treatment. You will follow a treatment timetable prescribed by your specialist. You will receive clear and honest information about this timetable. If you consider this information understandable and sufficient, you give permission for participation. This is known as ‘informed consent’.

If you participate in a trial, it is possible that your treatment team will be larger than with ‘standard’ treatment. Doctors, nurses, social workers and other professionals in health care may make up the treatment team. They will closely monitor the progress of your treatment process.

  


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5. What information do I need to obtain before and during the trial?

 

  • Information about the new medicine: the possible complications, the possible advantages, the results of previous trials;
  • Information about the study:
    - Study/tests necessary;
    - The medicine you may receive instead of or in addition to the medicine to be studied;
    - Whether you are participating in a standard-controlled or placebo-controlled study;
    - The results during the current study that are important to you, for example serious, undesirable side effects that make it necessary to stop the trial;
    - The right during the current trial to cease further participation; you need not specify a particular reason’
    - Information about after care and follow-up checks.

 

It is possible you will have to keep a logbook and complete questionnaires about your health.  

 


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