Clinical Trials: The Facts

Clinical Trials: The Facts

What is a clinical trial?

An investigator led clinical trial is a study designed by clinicians/researchers and involving human participants that is designed to test the safety, acceptability and effectiveness of

  • drugs
  • devices
  • procedures
  • or other therapies

In thoracic cancer research, investigator-led clinical trials can answer questions about how to:

  • treat cancer, for example using surgery, drugs and radiotherapy or different combinations of treatment
  • manage symptoms of cancer or its treatment, for example using drugs and complementary therapies such as diet and physical exercise
  • detect cancer at an early and treatable stage, for example using screening tests, scans or other special tests
  • diagnose cancer, for example using screening tests, scans or new technologies

Common misconceptions

  1. I will get a placebo [dummy] pill instead of actual medicine
  2. Clinical trials are only for those who have exhausted all other options
  3. Clinical trials are risky and unsafe
  4. Clinical trials all involve experimental new drugs
  5. Participating in a clinical trial provides no benefit to me personally
  6. If there are any clinical trials that could help me, my doctor will suggest it
  7. It’s expensive to participate in a clinical trial
  8. Once I join a clinical trial I will be locked in
  9. Clinical trials are only for new patients who aren’t on any medications
  10. Clinical trials are a huge time commitment
  11. Researchers treat patients like guinea pigs
  12. You need to live near a major hospital to participate
  13. Once the trial ends, I will no longer have access to the new treatment

A list of clincial trials led or endorsed by the ALTG is available on the Clinical Trials List page.