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Clinical Trial Myths Busted: "Without Clinical Trials There Is No Advancement"

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Published on August 30, 2017

Before considering a trial, many patients wonder: â??Is a clinical trial right for me?â?? â??How would it affect my family?â?? â??Do the risks I might be taking outweigh the benefits?â?? These are all questions our panel of experts discuss and debunk during this program. Watch now to learn more about clinical trials.

The Clinical MythBusters series is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power. We thank Astellas, Amgen and AbbVie for their support.

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Transcript | When Should Patients Consider a Clinical Trial?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

Okay.  So, Michael, you get to talk to patients around the country and know you're involved with the Lung Cancer Foundation of America, and you go to medical meetings discussing research, as well as you get to talk to patients.  What do you want to say to people today knowing the hesitation and our participation in trials is so low, maybe 3 percent of all the patients are in, and in certain minority groups it's much, much lower? 

Dr. Weitz:

I think, what I tell people and I strongly feel is that without clinical trials there is no advancement, there are no new drugs, there's no—and the hope goes away.  So I think it's so important to open your heart up and your mind up to clinical trials, because without them you're not going to get drug approvals. 

Andrew Schorr:

Sheila, so we have—we've been mentioning lung cancer a lot, but of course you work in the blood cancer area, and we were talking, Michael was suggesting progress that's going on in solid tumors like lung cancer. But in blood cancers, we see a lot of new medicines including a lot of approved medicines.  In multiple myeloma, I think there were seven new drugs approved last year.  In chronic lymphocytic leukemia, we have new drugs. 

So how—what would you say to people about when to consider a clinical trial or how it fits on when there are some pretty good approved therapies? 

Sheila Hoff:

That's a very good question.  I think it's really the oncologist that spears that, your doctor, your cancer doctor who is talking to you about what choices there are available.  And kind of to segue what Michael was saying is that I've been in clinical trials for a long time, and it's really the availability of it has really gotten broader.  It used to be you could really only get it in an academic settings, but more and more private offices are being able to offer clinical trials.  I think the access to it is getting greater, so I definitely think that it's a very exciting time for patients to be able to participate in, and their doctors can help them find the best clinical trials.  

Andrew Schorr:

I'm just going to sound off for a minute.  So I'm on a very good therapy, but it's working for me for myelofibrosis, scarring of the bone marrow.  I hope it will last forever or somebody will come up with a cure, but I may develop, like Michael had along the way, resistance to that drug, and it may be that what's next is in a trial.  So I as a patient am always talking to my doctor about what's going on and if the therapy that we have now, what our plan.  So for you, Dr. Villaruz, so they may go to a local cancer center, may not go to the big UPMC or they may not go to Moores Cancer Center in San Diego, what were questions that people should be asking of their doctor when it comes to trials? 

Dr. Villaruz:

Yes.  So the geographical distribution of where clinical trials are available can sometimes be a bit challenging, so I think one of the things that's important in terms of questions to bring to your physician is what are the specifics of the type of cancer that I have.  What other types of standard treatments are available and what potentially is out there.  And is there a possibility that if I get something that's not necessarily the standard of care but something that's, you know, experimental on a clinical trial, is there a possibility that that could give me benefit?  How much bang for the buck am I going to get?  Where is it available, and can you send me somewhere?  And I think that the thing that I like to tell patients is that a second opinion never hurts.  And even if it's just one trip downtown, even if it's just one one?hour trip downtown 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.