Promising New Clinical Trials

The horizon for cancer care is exciting. Tremendous scientific advances are being made toward understanding cancer. Clinical trials are the final proving ground for new cancer treatments and the UVA Cancer Center is an active participant in these trials.

Philanthropy is a crucial component of financing clinical trials. It ensures that promising new therapies benefit patients and speeds the search for more effective ways to prevent, treat and cure cancer.

Clinical Trials: An Important Option for Patients

Clinical trials provide crucial knowledge about which compounds or therapeutic approaches may be most effective. They also offer important options for people battling cancer. For some, a trial may be the best hope for having more time with family and friends. For others, a trial may offer a treatment regimen that provides equal or better results with fewer side-effects.

For a UVA Health System podcast explaining the myths, facts, and benefits of clinical trials - click here.

The Process

There are three clinical trial phases through which a new drug must pass:

  • Phase I trials test for safety, assess side-effects and help determine appropriate dosing levels.
  • Phase II trials test the effectiveness of a drug.
  • Phase III trials compare a new drug against the best treatment currently available.

A Phase I study may have only 15 or 20 participants, while a Phase II study may have hundreds and Phase III, thousands. Large clinical trials are performed at multiple sites and are sponsored by 
the National Cancer Institute (NCI) or pharmaceutical companies.

Expanding UVA's Reach With Clinical Trials

While promising new drugs are being developed in laboratories at record pace, we still face significant challenges.

Among the most pressing issues are patients’ lack of knowledge about clinical trials and insufficient funding from governmental sources to expand the number and scope of trials available to the patients who need them most.

It’s so important that we increase our capacity to test therapies developed at UVA and elsewhere.

Only three percent of adults with cancer participate in clinical trials, and federal reimbursements cover only a fraction of the cost of the trials themselves.