Many times people do not participate in a clinical trial because they did not know they were eligible or that one is available. It is important to ask and learn about clinical trials when you are making a treatment decision, it may be an option for you.
Participating in a clinical trial is a way to gain access to promising and perhaps effective drugs yet to be approved by the FDA. Hundreds of research projects are currently investigating the potential of new drugs and new combinations of drugs. Clinical trials also test whether a new treatment is better at treating the cancer than the best treatment available today. The best treatment available today is known as the ‘standard of care’.
Information about clinical trials was the most needed education topic by patients, survivors, and caregivers who participated in the ZERO education survey and had been living with the disease for some time.
Clinical trials follow strict guidelines and are highly controlled and regulated to provide the best protection to participants. A clinical trial consists of at least two groups depending upon the study protocol. A study protocol is a plan that describes the schedule of tests, procedures, medications and dosages, and the length of the study. One group of patients will receive the experimental drug or treatment and the other group of patients will receive either the standard of care or a placebo which has no therapeutic value. However placebos are almost never used in cancer treatment trials.
Click the links below to learn more about other aspects of clinical trials.
- Types of Trials
- Clinical Trial Phases
- Informed Consent and Patient Protection
Regardless of which group they are in, all patients receive the same level of medical attention and care. In most clinical trials, the health of the participants is monitored both during and after the study period. The government, study sponsors and outside groups monitor results throughout the trial. They are typically sponsored by the federal government, pharmaceutical or biotech companies, medical institutions, or private foundations. Many clinical trials are successful in finding promising new treatments for prostate cancer, such as the ALSYMPCA trial described by Dr. Alicia Morgans in the video below.
Clinical trials have helped hundreds of thousands of people – who are alive today – because new, more effective treatments became available. It’s important to take charge of your health and educate yourself about clinical trials. A survey of 2,000 cancer survivors conducted by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups and Northwestern University in 2006 found only 12 percent of men were aware of prostate cancer clinical trials while being treated for the disease.
Finding a Clinical Trial
Talking to your health care team about available clinical trails is a good first step. In addition, there are trusted resources available to help you find a clinical trial.
You can call the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) help line at 800-4-CANCER to help search the national databases for trial information. The NCI also maintains an online listing of cancer clinical trials at www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/search.
The National Institutes of Health maintains ClinicalTrials.gov which is a database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies.
These and other available databases allow you to conduct a very detailed search of all cancer clinical trials. The NCI’s and ClinicalTrials.gov listings are the most complete lists of cancer clinical trials available.
To be recruited for a clinical trial or survey, you can register for Research Match, a free program that connects people trying to find research studies with researchers looking for study participants.
While there are hundreds of clinical trials available for prostate cancer, below are some trials that are currently recruiting participants.
- S1216 Trial
- This trial is for men who are newly diagnosed with hormone sensitive metastatic prostate cancer and have a PSA level of at least 2ng/mL. All men in the study will receive standard androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), and one group will receive the experimental drug TAK-700 (orteronel) while the others will receive bicalutamide (Casodex). Click here for more information about this trial on clinicaltrials.gov. To visit the sponsor website, click here.
- ARAMIS Trial
- The purpose of this study is to determine the safety and effectiveness of a new drug in delaying prostate cancer spreading from the prostate. This study is enrolling prostate cancer patients with rising PSA levels whose prostate cancer is at risk of progressing but has not already spread to other areas of the body. Click here for more information about this trial on clinicaltrials.gov. To visit the sponsor website, click here.
- VIABLE Study
- The purpose of this study is to determine whether DCVAC added onto Standard of Care Chemotherapy can improve survival times in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Click here for more information about this trial on clinicaltrials.gov. To visit the sponsor website, click here.
- ATLAS Study
- The purpose of this study is to determine if a JNJ-56021927 plus GnRH agonist results in an improvement of metastasis-free survival in participants receiving primary radiation therapy. This trial is for patients with high-risk, localized or locally-advanced prostate cancer. Click here for more information about this trial on clinicaltrials.gov.
- EMBARK Study
- The purpose of this study is to assess the safety and efficacy of enzalutamide (Xtandi) plus leuprolide (Lupron) in patients with nonmetastatic prostate cancer. Candidates for this study have nonmetastatic cancer that is progressing after a radical prostatectomy, radiotherapy, or both. Click here for more information about this trial on clinicaltrials.gov. Click here to visit the sponsor website.
- TRITON3 Trial
- The purpose of this trial is to determine the effectiveness of rucaparib (Rubraca) versus the physician’s choice of therapy in treating men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Candidates for this study have metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer as well as a BRCA1/2 or ATM gene mutation and have not been treated with chemotherapy at this stage. Click here for more information about this trial on clinicaltrials.gov.
- TACT Trial
- The purpose of this study is to obtain information on the safety and effectiveness of the TULSA-PRO system, which is designed to destroy prostate tissue under MRI guidance using ultrasound energy. Candidates for this study are men ages 45 to 80 who have been diagnosed with early-stage, low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer. Click here for more information about this trial on clinicaltrials.gov. Click here to visit the sponsor website.
- ENACT Trial
- The primary purpose of this study is to compare the time to prostate cancer progression (pathological or therapeutic progression) between patients treated with enzalutamide versus patients undergoing active surveillance. Click here for more information about this trial on clinicaltrials.gov.
Clinical Trials Webinar
Are you considering a clinical trial? How safe are clinical trials? How do you know if your clinical trial is working? The webinar, hosted by ZERO in partnership with Us TOO and OncoGenex features Dr. Tomasz Beer, Deputy Director at the Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Beer covers everything you need to know about clinical trials.