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Clinical Trials Information for PatientsIn cancer research a clinical trial is an organized study conducted in people with cancer to answer specific questions about a new treatment or a new way of using a known treatment Each study tries to increase medical knowledge and to find new and better ways to help cancer patients Besides studying new anticancer drugs clinical trials study new combinations of drugs already used in cancer treatment new ways of giving treatment and how changes in lifestyle can help cancer patients or prevent cancer from occurring Other clinical trials compare the best known standard therapy with a newer therapy to see if one produces more cures and causes fewer side effects than the other Before a new treatment is tested in patients it is carefully studied in the laboratory First a drug is considered because it changes cells or parts of cells in a way that suggests it will destroy cancer or help the body to deal with the side effects of cancer treatment Then the new treatment is tested in animals to learn what it does in the body But this early research cannot predict exactly how a new treatment will work in people or define all the side effects that might occur Clinical trials are designed to help us find out how to give a new treatment safely and effectively to people Each patient who participates in a clinical trial provides information on the effectiveness and risks of the new treatment Advances in medicine and science are the result of new ideas and approaches developed through research New cancer treatments must prove to be safe and effective in scientific studies with a certain number of patients before they can be made available to all patients Treatments now being used standard treatments are the base for building new hopefully better treatments Many standard treatments were first shown to be effective in clinical trials Clinical trials show researchers which therapies are
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