According to the most recent American Cancer Society statistics, the lifetime risk of a woman (living in the United States) developing cancer is approximately 1 in 3. While the numbers can be intimidating – advances in cancer detection, prevention, and treatment are being made every day. The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross is proud to participate in the process that allows these advances to reach this community. Our patients can often be treated with cutting-edge cancer treatments near their hometown.
Clinical research studies (synonymous with trial and protocol) allow us to prove that an idea is true in a controlled environment. In most cases the idea is a new drug or treatment but can also include any of the following:
- New imaging equipment that can detect abnormalities earlier
- New laboratory technology that can detect cancer cells in the blood
- More effective chemotherapy regimens (combing two or more already approved drugs for better cancer control)
- Comparing already approved regimens (to determine if one is superior or has less side effects)
- New formulations of currently approved drugs (comparing the efficacy of an oral version to an infused version)
- Collecting quality of life data (to help understand the financial, social, mental and physical burdens cancer patients face)
The process of proving an idea valid is rigorous and long. The average length of time, from drug development to FDA approval, is 14.8 years. One of the reasons this process can be so long and burdensome are the safety and quality measures each institution must commit to when a patient participates. The research staff and physician are under careful scrutiny by the sponsor and national regulatory authorities. University of Chicago Medicine is committed to this process and expanding access to the Silver Cross community.
Are you interested in learning more about the clinical trial process? How you can participate? Have questions regarding a trial that might benefit you or a loved one? Attend our upcoming lecture on Breast Cancer Clinical Trials on Thursday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center. Dr. Brooke Phillips, medical oncologist, and I will be discussing the process in a little more detail and highlighting some of the exciting research efforts that are currently ongoing. You can register to attend online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).