Radiation oncologist Russell K. Hales, M.D. of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus notes that clinical trials are treatments that are usually done at cancer centers with researchers, like Hopkins. “Clinical trials take an existing therapy, and add to it an investigational therapy, or give an investigational therapy altogether,” he says.
What are the advantages in each choice?
• The standard of care is the standard treatment that you should receive, anywhere across the world that you're treated.
• Clinical trials take discovery that's been found in the lab, or in smaller clinical trials, and apply it to a group of patients. Often, clinical trials can give a patient an opportunity to have a therapy that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get, that may one day become the clinical standard of care.
Clinical trials also benefit the field at large, by helping the patient to-to be a participant in innovation, in lung cancer care. Hales notes that “We are at the heart of innovation in cancer treatment, because of patients that have gone before, and have been a part of clinical trials. This is the way that we transform cancer care. If you are choosing between the standard of care, versus the clinical trial, it really comes down to the individual clinical trial. I want to reassure you that no clinical trial is done without much data gathering beforehand, to show that there's promise in the therapy that's being tried. Clinical trials are always a good option, but they need to be taken on a case by case basis.”