Clinical trials are very important in developing new drugs for cancer patients. We at Sarah Cannon offer clinical trials to our patients to really enhance the outcome and to improve survival response rates and have patients a better quality of life with the new types of drugs we’re testing.
Drugs we’re testing can range from very targeted, very specific drugs, matching a target on the cancer or immunotherapy or even combination of both or sometimes new chemotherapies. Trials should be always part of a decision-making process while you receive treatments, whether it’s in the first line second line or third line in the treatment. At Sarah Cannon we offer clinical trials of all ranges often very early clinical trials where we just get an understanding of clinical trials, but also randomised clinical trials in the later development stage.
There’s great excitement about immunotherapy trials in recent years and we have seen great success bringing particularly through early clinical trials new immunotherapy drugs to our cancer patients, developing those as standard of care. For example, in lung cancer, melanoma, colorectal cancer, immunotherapies are now approved standard of care drugs through our clinical trials we’re offering here at Sarah Cannon.
Immunotherapy trials are important because they differ from the standard chemotherapy often by activating our own immune system to fight cancer. Effectively the immune therapies we give today through infusions or other means help your immune system to tackle cancer proteins, cancer cells and control cancer. And we have really seen in some cancers where we had very short survival or non-responsive to chemotherapy, immunotherapy changing the game and having patients long surviving than they would do with chemotherapy.
Rreally exciting times and at Sarah Cannon we offer a variety of clinical trials, not only single agent immunotherapy, but also combination. Combinations with targeted drugs, matching drugs to genetic profile or combinations of immunotherapy and chemotherapy to improve the outcome of chemotherapy. Really a broad spectrum of clinical trials of immunotherapy trials here available at Sarah Cannon.
Immunotherapy trials are generally very safe, because we give them as part of a clinical trial where we monitor patients on a regular basis. If we identify a safety concern or a side effect, we connect– my clinical team and I, we connect very quickly and administer for example drugs to stop the immune response. Generally compared to chemotherapy, the mechanism is completely different.
We effectively through immunotherapies and manipulating the immune system let the immune system responds to cancer cells. As opposed to chemotherapy where we poison the body with toxic drugs which effectively destroys all fast growing tissue including cancer but also healthy tissue like your bone marrow, the gastrointestinal system; where you may experience mouth ulcers and diarrhoea, immunotherapy is more when we deal with side effects in overshooting immune system which usually can manage very easily if we, as a team, as a clinical team know early enough. That’s why it’s important to communicate with your clinical team on a regular basis. It’s really important to ask your doctor, your team where you can find a clinical trial, a suitable trial for you.
This might be at your local centre or at a reference tertiary centre a bit further away from you, but always ask for a clinical trial if you discuss next treatment option or in general treatment option. Clinical trials really have much advanced and I personally would say clinical trial is always a better option than standard of care. Standard of care is 10-20 years old whereas the clinical trial always either incorporates standard of care plus something new particularly with immunotherapies, it is the next generation often five to ten years ahead what standard of care is.
Always ask for a clinical trial, encourage your doctor. If they don’t have an answer for you, there are websites available or through our Sarah Cannon network, you can ask for clinical trials and we will guide you to the right team and the right network if that is needed.