Searching for a Clinical Trial
Clinical trials present many potential benefits for anyone with breast cancer such as the opportunity to access leading-edge treatments that aren’t yet widely available. For example, the first targeted therapy was approved for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Although the targeted therapy was originally developed for a different cancer type, research through clinical trials discovered it could be useful in TNBC.
Many clinical trials are currently taking place to evaluate different components of breast cancer treatment, including using older and newer chemotherapies in different combinations; testing targeted therapies that have been successful in other cancers; evaluating if immunotherapy offers treatment potential; determining if antiandrogens could be used; developing new lab tests to identify biomarkers and subtypes; assessing new imaging tests, such as molecular breast imaging; and analyzing new surgical techniques, such as oncoplastic surgery.
Ask your doctor if participating in a clinical trial is an option for you. Understanding how to navigate an online clinical trial site, and enlisting the help of friends and family to help you, can make your search much less overwhelming.
Below are screenshots from a mock clinical trial search site to give you an idea of what to expect and help you decipher the medical jargon. Each clinical trial has certain criteria you must meet to be eligible to participate. Before you begin, have your exact diagnosis, pathology report and details of previous treatments handy.
If you find a clinical trial that appears to be a good fit but is no longer accepting patients, you may be eligible for expanded access. Also referred to as compassionate use, this is a program that extends the access of an investigational treatment or medical product outside of its use in a clinical trial. To obtain permission, your doctor must submit an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and permission must be granted by the company that provides the medical product. If you don’t find a clinical trial, know that new clinical trials are being added all the time. You may choose to continue searching while you move forward with your current treatment plan.
Clinical Trial Resources
- ACT (About Clinical Trials)
- Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation
- Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered
- Lazarex Cancer Foundation
- LIVESTRONG Foundation
- Metastatic Breast Cancer Trial Search
- National Cancer Institute
- SHARE Cancer Support
- TNBC Foundation Clinical Trials Matching Service