3 further types of cancer clinical trials

Medical research takes many forms and within the cancer research domain, treat there are a range of clinical trials taking place at any one time to help develop new drugs. Here we look at three further types of cancer clinical trials – prevention trials, trials that focus on causes and patterns, and sequential trials.


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Prevention trials

Participants in prevention trials are helping to see if a specific drug or form of treatment can prevent a type of cancer from developing in the first place, rather than focussing on a cure. Therefore, those involved in the trial won’t have cancer, but they could come from a high risk group or just be part of the general population.

The IBIS 2 breast cancer trial is an example of such a prevention programme. This involved a large group of post-menopausal women who had a particularly high risk of developing breast cancer, to see if the drug anastrozole was beneficial in preventing the cancer developing. The results showed that those taking the drug were 53% less likely of developing the cancer than the participants that took the placebo.

Causes and patterns of cancer

Trials that investigate the possible causes or patterns of cancer are called epidemiology studies and the majority of these involve observational studies. These can be cohort studies where a group of people are followed for a length of time to see if they develop cancer, with the particular risk factors then being examined.

Case control studies assess those who already have the disease against those who don’t, to see if they were exposed to specific risks.

The other types of studies are cross-sectional, which are conducted over a short space of time and look at links between risk factors and those who have cancer.

Once trials have been completed, drugs have to be reviewed by the relevant body, such as the FDA, and there are companies to help with FDA 510k submissions such as fdathirdpartyreview.

Sequential trials

The other type of cancer trial is sequential. These are beneficial as they require fewer participants and results can be shown earlier, as they are worked out throughout the trial instead of just at the end. Participants are treated sequentially in a specific group, with each group given a different dose or in a different way to see which gives the best results.