I have greatly benefited from the experiences of those who have had cancer before me and I would like to help others who will be diagnosed with the disease in the future. That’s why I recently asked Dr. Dax about any clinical trials I could join.
Clinical trials are “biomedical or health-related research studies in human beings that follow a pre-defined protocol.” It turns out there’s one underway for Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It involves Enzastauarin, which sounds like a citizen of a Central Asian country but is really an experimental drug showing promise in suppressing tumor cell growth and inhibiting tumor-induced angiogenesis.
Clinical trials come in four phases. This one is a Phase III trial, which means Enzastauarin has already been extensively tested. Now the pharmaceutical company and the FDA want a large-scale trial to gain a more thorough understanding of its effectiveness and to determine the range of possible adverse reactions.
While some doctors make money running trials, there’s usually no financial incentive for the patients, other than free drugs. Involvement is voluntary and participants can withdraw at any time. There are potential pros and cons to consider before enrolling:
- getting early access to new treatments and promising pharmaceuticals;
- enjoying meticulous care and state-of-the-art monitoring;
- contributing to medical knowledge that could save thousands;
- gaining cool super powers like x-ray vision or spidey sense.
- receiving no benefit, either because you’re in the control group given placebos or because the drug doesn’t work;
- experiencing unpleasant side effects or serious adverse reactions;
- investing the extra time and effort it takes to follow the sometimes complex protocols;
- losing some of your favorite appendages.
Not just anyone can qualify for a clinical trial; you have to be “special.” You don’t want to be too special, though, as in having a rare medical condition named after you.
First doctor: “Poor guy; he’s got Hamel’s Disease.”
Second doctor: “You sure he wasn’t hit by a bus?”
First doctor: “I believe the autopsy will prove I’m right.”