What is a cancer trial?

Cancer trials test new and more effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.

Trials can involve testing new drugs or combinations of commonly used drugs, new therapies, new ways of treating cancer, or new ways of diagnosing cancer.

They may test surgical techniques, medical devices, or physical therapies. They can also involve investigating blood samples and tissues.

Overall, cancer trials aim to find better ways to:

  • Detect cancer, especially in the early stages
  • Treat cancer
  • Prevent cancer from reoccurring
  • Improve the comfort and quality of life for people with cancer

The idea of a cancer trial can initially create unease. However, when patients and their families find out about the safety measures and monitoring that are in place and the experience of others, they become more comfortable with the idea.

Trials are also highly regulated by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) and patients are intensively monitored by their consultant and research team at all stages.

Pharmacovigilance staff ensure that the most up to date national and EU regulations are adhered to, such as the clinical trial directive 2001/20/EC and associated guidance on adverse event/reactions (‘CT-3’). This compliance is monitored continuously by the HPRA.

Also, any patient can withdraw from a trial at any time if they wish.