[captionpix imgsrc="http://www.netnewsledger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/cathygarden.jpg" captiontext="Cathy Pineau, who was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer in spring of 1998, joined a clinical trial after her first treatment. “I hope that I will have the chance to participate in another clinical trial.”" " width="620" height="467"]
THUNDER BAY – Healthbeat – Medical breakthroughs are happening almost every day. However, they can’t become treatments until they are tested in real world, clinical settings. That is what most clinical trials are: a step to determine if there is benefit to the patient and to discover new treatments for tomorrow.
When asked to identify the largest barrier to increasing patient participation in clinical trials, Sandra Stoger, Director of Clinical Trials at the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (TBRRI) replied, “People simply aren’t asked.”
Her advice? “Don’t hesitate to ask your primary care provider about clinical trials,” she said. “They’re voluntary, you can choose to leave at any time, and participants may experience many benefits.”
For example, clinical trials build in a process called informed consent that teaches people about their condition or disease. They also give participants access to intensive monitoring and follow-up and provide an opportunity for patients to play a more active role in their healthcare.
In some circumstances, they also make promising new treatments accessible that are not yet widely available to the public, and offer gravely ill people the chance to get relief where other treatments have failed.
Cathy Pineau, who was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer in spring of 1998, joined a clinical trial after her first treatment.
“I jumped at the chance because I had read that people in treatment trials had better experiences because of how closely they were monitored,” Cathy said.
After being cancer-free for 11 years, Cathy’s cancer recurred and she had to go back for treatments.
|CLINICAL TRIALS CORE TEAM
Clinical Lead: Dr. Dimitrios Vergidis, Chief of Oncology, Regional Cancer Care Northwest
Scientific Lead: Dr. Laura Curiel, TBRRI Scientist
Administrative Lead: Katherine Andriash, TBRRI
Management Lead: Sandra Stoger, Director of Clinical Trials, TBRRI
Medical Director, Translational Research Program: Dr. Christopher Lai
“I hope that I will have the chance to participate in another clinical trial when and if my current chemo ends, both as a chance to give back to the Cancer Centre and selfishly, to perhaps improve the chances of extending my life,” she said.
For more information about clinical trials, please contact Karen Melenchuk, nurse coordinator, in the Clinical Trials office at 684-7230.