Clinical trials: Are you a candidate?
Astounding progress is being made in the treatment of multiple myeloma, and by participating in a clinical trial, you may be able to benefit from the latest breakthroughs. Your care team may recommend a specific trial for you, or you may investigate the options on your own. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Find out if you’re eligible.
Clinical trials are usually looking for people who fit specific criteria—they may only want patients who have tried and failed to respond to a certain type of treatment, or someone with a specific gene mutation.
2. Search for trials.
Clinical trials are run by many different sponsors—private companies, the U.S. government, hospitals, etc.—so there is no single list that includes them all, but the search tools at the National Cancer Institute’s website, Cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/search, and at the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s site, ClinicalTrials.gov, are two of the most comprehensive and reliable.
3. Read the summaries.
Trial summaries will give you the facts about the study. What to consider:
• Do you meet all the criteria?
• Location of the trial
• Length of the trial
• What is the trial objective?
4. Contact the trials.
Ask to speak with the trial coordinator, the referral coordinator or the protocol assistant. It’s also possible to have your doctor call for you, as he or she might be better able to answer any of the trial representative’s questions to determine if you’re eligible. Some questions you or your doctor should ask:
• What are the risks, benefits and potential side effects?
• Is the trial randomized?
• Could you be given a placebo?
• Who will cover costs (such as travel)?
• How will it affect your everyday life?
• Are similar trials or drugs available through your own oncologist?
5. Talk with your care team.
Once you have all the information you need, discuss your options with your care team. If you do decide to try a trial, set up an appointment with the nearest trial location to get started.