Join Lung Cancer Clinical Trials
Lung cancer is unfortunately all too common in the United States, and is the most common cause of cancer-related death among both men and women. In fact, over 160,000 people in the United States will die as a result of lung cancer in 2012. Which means, there are a lot of different lung cancer clinical trials ongoing.
Due to its widespread prevalence and associated mortality, researchers are hard at work investigating newer and better ways to prevent and treat lung cancer, as well as to improve diagnostic capabilities and find more accurate ways to screen for it.
What Will Lung Cancer Clinical Trials Be Like?
Lung cancer clinical trials may involve many common tests and procedures; however, the ultimate design of the particular study will determine which specific procedures you will undergo. Examples of specific tests and procedures that may be used in a clinical trial for lung cancer include the following:
- Physical exam
- Blood and/or tissue sample for the purposes of conducting genetic testing.
- If the study is evaluating a new type of medication or vaccine, blood and/or urine tests may be performed to monitor how your body metabolizes the medication or how effectively your body has responded to the vaccine.
- Sputum sample (mucus coughed up from the lungs) for analysis.
- Thoracentisis, which is a procedure that uses a long needle to remove fluid from the chest in order to examine it for the presence of cancer cells.
- Bronchoscopy, which involves inserting a thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera attached through the nose or mouth into the tube in order to take pictures inside the lungs and airways.
- Chest x-rays
- Radiation therapy
- Quality of life assessments to evaluate how your cancer is impacting your ability to perform activities of daily living.
- Pain assessments
- Dietary assessments
Typical Protocol for Lung Cancer Clinical Trials:
Research related to lung cancer and lung cancer clinical trials are ongoing and currently investigating a number of aspects related to its prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Sample clinical trials might include the following:
- A clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of two different smoking cessation programs offered to lung cancer patients who continue to smoke following their diagnosis.
- A study designed to evaluate if a new diagnostic test that can recognize specific DNA changes in cells collected from sputum samples can help detect lung cancers at an earlier stage.
- A clinical trial that compares standard chemotherapy for lung cancer to a combination of standard therapy plus a new drug to see which treatment is most effective at reducing the size of the tumor.
- A study in which lung cancer patients provide a sample of their tumor to be tested for specific proteins that can indicate how the tumor will respond to certain types of chemotherapy.
- A clinical trial that compares standard chemotherapy for lung cancer to a combination of standard chemotherapy plus a vaccine designed to prompt the body’s immune system to attack and kill vital portions of lung cancer cells.
A brief word about randomized trials and placebos:
Many clinical trials involve the comparison of an investigational treatment to a “standard” treatment. Some studies determine which therapy a patient receives through a process known as randomization, in which patients are randomly assigned to receive either the investigational treatment or the standard treatment.
On occasion, a trial will investigate the use of a standard treatment plus a new drug compared to standard treatment plus a placebo. Placebos are inactive or “sham” treatments that are identical in appearance to the active treatment but have no therapeutic value.
Placebos are necessary to help determine if adverse effects that occur during the clinical trial are the result of the investigational treatment or due to some other factor. They also allow researchers to measure the effects of the active treatment and observe what would have happened without it.
In rare instances where no standard therapy exists, or when a new drug is being evaluated for the first time in a specific cancer, the investigational treatment might be compared to a placebo alone. In these types of trials, those patients who are randomized to the placebo group do not receive an active treatment.
This is rarely done in cancer clinical trials; however it may occasionally be necessary from a scientific standpoint. Placebo-only trials will only be done when ethically appropriate and when patients have been adequately informed that they may end up receiving the placebo rather than the active treatment.
It is very important to note, however, that no one should ever participate in such a placebo trial when there is a widely available and highly effective standard treatment already in existence for their particular type of cancer and clinical situation.
Trial Eligibility and Medical Information Needed:
The type of clinical trial you may be eligible for often depends on many factors, including your disease stage, treatment history, and a variety of clinical findings. Therefore, it is important to know many details pertaining to your specific diagnosis when searching for clinical trials. Examples of the details you will want to have on hand include:
- The name, location, size, stage, and cell type of your cancer (i.e. small cell lung cancer or non-small cell lung cancer), as well as the locations of any metastases you have. Also know these details for any prior cancer you have had.
- Know your performance status, which estimates how well you perform normal activities of daily living. Examples: Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) and the ECOG scale.
- Know your treatment history, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and/or surgery.
- Know your blood cell counts, liver function test results, and kidney function test results.
Suggested Search Terms:
Once you are ready to begin your search for lung cancer clinical trials, the following search terms may be of use when combined with the specific type of lung cancer you have:
“lung cancer treatment,” “radiation therapy,” “chemotherapy,” “surgery,” “diet,” “nutrition,” “vaccine,” “screening,” and “smoking.”
Current Search Term: