Looking for a clinical trial is one way to be an active participant in your own care. First, let your medical team know you are open to participating. While they use their resources to find available trials, you can search online websites on your own. Your doctor may recommend additional resources.
Before you begin, have your diagnosis, pathology report and details of previous cancer treatments and underlying conditions on hand.
To help find a clinical trial online that may apply to you, you’ll have to provide key information, such as your diagnosis. To further customize your search, enter details, such as age and underlying conditions.
You will be asked about your preferred location. If you prefer a clinical trial close to home, enter your home address. Expand the miles surrounding your home if you are willing and able to travel for treatment.
You can refine your search even more by adding a particular treatment type, such as “immunotherapy” or a particular genetic mutation, such as “NTRK” (pronounced EN-track). You can also add a National Clinical Trial identifier, which is a unique eight-digit code preceded by “NCT” that is assigned to each trial.
Reading Your Search Results
Next, you will see a list of trials that match your criteria. Details include recruitment status, which indicates whether the trial is actively seeking patients, not yet recruiting or otherwise inactive. Be aware that the status will change, so check often for updates.
The Summary of Study explains the purpose of the clinical trial and the treatment being studied. This section is usually written for health care providers, so it may be difficult to understand. If it is, print out the information to discuss with your doctor.
Also included is the criteria you must meet to be eligible for the trial, such as the stage of disease, sites of metastasis, overall health requirements and previous treatments.
Contact information for the clinical trial investigators, staff or sponsors may be listed. These are resources who may be able to provide more details and answer questions about the study.
The sponsor is listed. This is the entity responsible for the clinical trial. It may be a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company, a university, the National Cancer Institute or others.
Once you find a potential trial, talk with your doctor about how it may fit in with your treatment goals. Keep in mind that you may not qualify for every trial that interests you, and some may be closed. Also, look more than once. Trials are beginning and ending all the time, so put a reminder on your calendar to check back frequently.