If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, you want to know you’re receiving the latest in care. Clinical trials represent hope and the latest advancements in brain tumor treatment. If you become a patient, you will have access to leading edge care that is above and beyond today’s standard of care that you’ll find at most other facilities.
A clinical trial is a type of research to discover or test new drugs, combinations of drugs, therapies, medical devices, and surgeries. Clinical trials follow strict rules to help keep patients safe.
The medicine you take during a clinical trial may be FDA-approved, but not for treating brain tumors. Other medicines may not have any FDA approval.
While there is some risk of side effects in all clinical trials, you are closely monitored throughout your trial to ensure the treatment is not harming you. Your care team makes every effort to keep you safe throughout treatment.
Some clinical trial treatments may be effective for some patients and not for others. Some may be very effective while others don’t work at all. Since these treatments are still being studied, there is no way to know before your clinical trial if the treatment will work for you.
Like any medical decision, you should be thinking carefully about whether or not to join a clinical trial. Clinical trials can be very effective and help researchers improve the future of brain tumor care. You will receive careful monitoring and follow-up care throughout your trial.
However, clinical trials may also be ineffective. They may cause unexpected side effects. To stick to study requirements, you may have to spend a lot of time at the doctor’s office or have to follow other strict rules.
Your decision is personal. You should always ask questions about the clinical trial to help you make your decision.
Some clinical trials are completely free. Others may be partly covered by your insurance or not covered at all. You may also receive some compensation for your time or transportation costs.
The research team should be able to help you determine the cost of a clinical trial before you enroll.
If you are interested in clinical trial treatment, please tell your physician. Your physician may also recommend a clinical trial to you if your other treatments are not working.
To participate in a clinical trial, you must meet strict requirements. These requirements help ensure patient safety and lead to more accurate study results. Requirements vary greatly in different clinical trials. Requirements may include that you:
- Are a certain age
- Be in a specific stage of cancer
- Have a specific type of brain tumor
- Have had specific treatments previously
- Have no other health issues, such as heart disease
You may undergo certain tests, like imaging tests or blood tests, before being enrolled in a clinical trial. You may also need to have a physical with your primary care physician.
Once you have been approved for the trial, you will need to sign an informed consent form saying that you understand the risks of your clinical trial. You should always ask your doctor about possible risks and about any concerns you have.
During your clinical trial, you will receive treatment according to strict rules (protocols). These protocols may determine how much medicine you are given, how you receive radiation, or how a surgery is performed. Your care team should talk to you about your treatment schedule.
When the study is complete, you and your care team will meet to create a new plan for your treatment. Your plan will depend on if the clinical trial was effective for you or any changes in your tumor since the trial began.