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Clinical Trials: More than a last resort
by Ellyn Cohen, PhD.
Would you like to have access to
tomorrow’s medical technology, today? If so, you might be
interested in taking part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials bridge the
gap between laboratory discovery and routine clinical care by
carefully testing experimental approaches to cancer care in hu-
man volunteers. Rigorous and controlled screening in the clini-
cal setting ensures that new methods for cancer prevention, di-
agnosis, and treatment are safe and effective before they are
made available to the general population.
The UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center is recog-
nized nationwide for the depth and breadth of its clini-
cal research. Organized around nine clinical research
areas, UCSF investigators engage in clini-
cal studies involving cancers of the breast,
blood and lymphatic system, brain and
nervous system, endocrine system, gyne-
cologic sites, liver, lung, oral/head/neck
areas, prostate, and skin.
A common misconception about clinical
trials is that they are useful only as a last
resort in treatment: a place to go for hope when all
standard medical therapies have been exhausted. Many
people never consider taking part in a clinical trial be-
cause they believe they are only appropriate for those
with advanced or metastatic disease. Yet, it is impor-
tant to realize that the application and benefits of clinical trials
are not neccesarily limited to persons with metastatic disease.
UCSF hosts a diversity of treatment trials with enrollment op-
portunities for patients with early stage cancer as well as those
who are at risk for developing the disease. And beyond treat-
ment, UCSF investigators conduct clinical research in cancer pre-
vention, screening/diagnosis, and quality of life.
The following information is a guide to the types of clinical
trials that are currently available at the UCSF Cancer Center: