A clinical trial is one of the final stages in a careful
research process to identify safe and effective new methods of cancer
prevention, detection or treatment.
Feather River Cancer Center Clinical Trials program provides patients
access trials through an affiliation with Stanford Medical Center and the
Cancer Trials Support Unit of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) National
Clinical Trials Network. Local access to
these trials means that patients are usually able to stay in our community for
the most promising treatments available.
For more information about our clinical trials program,
please call the Cancer Center at
Frequently Asked Questions
is a clinical trial?
are clinical trials conducted?
are the different types of clinical trials?
are clinical trials conducted?
are participants protected?
are eligibility criteria, and why are they important?
is informed consent?
are some of the benefits of taking part in a clinical trial?
are some of the possible risks associated with taking part in a clinical trial?
can I get more information?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a clinical trial?
A. Clinical trials are research studies in which people help doctors
find ways to improve heath and cancer care.
Each study tries to answer scientific questions and to find better ways
to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer.
Q. Why are clinical trials conducted?
A. A clinical trial is one of the final stages of a long and careful
cancer research process. Studies are
performed with cancer patients to find out whether promising approaches to
cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are safe and effective. Clinical trials often become the latest
Q. What are the different types of clinical trials?
A. There are several types of clinical trials:
trials test new approaches, such as medications, vitamins, or other
supplements, that doctors believe may lower the risk of developing a certain
type of cancer.
trials study ways to detect cancer earlier.
They are often conducted to determine whether finding cancer before it
causes symptoms decreases the chance of dying from the disease. These trials involve people who do not have
any symptoms of cancer.
trials are conducted with people who have cancer. They are designed to answer specific
questions about, and evaluate the effectiveness of a new treatment or a new way
of using a standard treatment. These
trials test many types of treatments, such as new drugs, vaccines, new
approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, or new combinations of treatments.
(also called supportive care or palliative care) trials explore ways to
improve the comfort and quality of life of cancer patients and cancer
survivors. These trials may study ways
to help people who are experiencing nausea, vomiting, sleep disorders,
depression, or other effects from cancer or its treatment.
Q. How are clinical trials conducted?
A. Clinical Trials are usually conducted in a series of steps, called
trials are the first step in testing a new approach in people. In these studies, researchers evaluate what
dose is safe, how a new agent should be given, and how often. Researchers watch closely for any harmful
side effects. Only a small number of
patients participate in the Phase I trial of a drug.
trials study the safety and effectiveness of an agent or intervention, and
evaluate how it affects the human body.
Phase II studies usually focus on a particular type of cancer, and
include fewer than 100 patients.
trials compare a new agent or intervention (or new use of a standard one)
with the current standard therapy. It is
the final stage of the long research process, and the last step before a new
drug or procedure becomes a standard of care.
Patients are randomly assigned to the standard group or the new group,
usually by computer. This method, called
randomization, helps to avoid bias and ensures that human choices or other
factors do not affect the study’s results.
In most cases, studies move to Phase III testing only after they have
shown promise in Phases I and II. Phase
III trials often include large numbers of people across the country.
Q. How are participants protected?
A. Research with people is conducted according to strict scientific and
ethical principles. Every clinical trial
has a protocol, or action plan, which acts like a ‘recipe’ for conducting the
trial. The plan describes what will be
done in the study, how it will be conducted, and why each part of the study is
necessary. The same protocol is used by
every doctor or research center taking part in the trial.
All clinical trials at Feather River Cancer Center must be reviewed and
approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is charged with protecting the rights
and welfare of people involved in research.
Each protocol is reviewed by the IRB to make sure the study is conducted
fairly and that participants are not likely to be harmed.
Q. What are eligibility criteria, and why are they important?
A. Each study's protocol has guidelines for who can or cannot
participate in the study. These guidelines, called eligibility criteria,
describe characteristics that must be shared by all participants. The criteria
differ from study to study. They may include age, gender, medical history, and
current health status. Eligibility criteria for treatment studies often require
that patients have a particular type and stage of cancer.
Enrolling participants with similar characteristics helps to ensure
that the results of the trial will be due to what is under study and not other
factors. In this way, eligibility criteria help researchers achieve accurate
and meaningful results. These criteria also minimize the risk of a person's
condition becoming worse by participating in the study.
Q. What is informed consent?
A. Informed consent is a process by which people learn the important
facts about a clinical trial to help them decide whether to participate. This
information includes details about what is involved, such as the purpose of the
study, the tests and other procedures used in the study, and the possible risks
and benefits. In addition to talking with their doctor or nurse, patients
receive a written consent form explaining the study. Patients who agree to take
part in the study are asked to sign the informed consent form. However, signing
the form does not mean patients must stay in the study. People can leave the
study at any time-either before the study starts or at any time during the
study or the follow-up period.
Q. What are some of the benefits of taking part in a clinical trial?
A. The benefits of participating in a clinical trial include the
- Participants have
access to promising new approaches that are often not available outside
the clinical trial setting.
- The approach being
studied may be more effective than the standard approach.
- Participants receive
regular and careful medical attention from a research team that includes
doctors and other health professionals.
- Participants may be
the first to benefit from the new method under study.
- Results from the study
may help others in the future.
Q. What are some of the possible risks associated with taking part in a
A. The possible risks of participating in a clinical trial include the
- New drugs or
procedures under study are not always better than the standard care to
which they are being compared.
- New treatments may
have side effects or risks that doctors do not expect or that are worse
than those resulting from standard care.
- Participants in
randomized trials will not be able to choose the approach they receive.
- Health insurance and
managed care providers may not cover all patient care costs in a study.
- Participants may be
required to make more visits to the doctor than they would if they were
not in the clinical trial.
Q. Where can I get more information?
A. Please call the Feather River Cancer Center at (530) 876-3141. The links below are also excellent sources of
Contact Us About Our Clinical Trials
Feather River Hospital
5629 Canyon View Drive
Paradise, CA 95969
(530) 876-7995 ext. 4506