Clinical Trials Should be a First Step in Cancer Treatment, Not the Last
Not long ago, cancer patients thought being part of a clinical trial meant they had run out of therapeutic options. Participation was viewed as a last, desperate act. In the mind of the patient, the family, and sometimes even the physician, being involved in a clinical trial wasn’t far from hoping for a miracle cure.
That negative view of clinical trials is rapidly evolving. More and more, we’re seeing patients actively seeking out clinical studies, and there is strong support to make clinical trials a first step in cancer care, rather than the last.
Being part of a clinical trial can deliver definite benefits to the patient. First, patients can potentially access drugs or drug combinations that they couldn’t or wouldn’t normally receive. Some of the newer, targeted therapies are potentially more effective and less toxic. Also, with a trial comes an even higher level of patient oversight. All care is carefully monitored and reviewed. Further, there are built-in checks and balances to each trial. Often, all of this oversight results a higher level of attention and care for the patient.
Clinical trial participation also gives a sense of relief to family members. The idea that the patient is receiving cutting edge care is comforting. For patients, there is also an altruistic component. Their involvement means that others might one day benefit from the trial’s results.
But, participation in a clinical trial is not automatic. There are potential barriers to clinical trial participation. The most obvious barrier is the amount of paperwork demanded of both the patients and physicians. This can be a difficult task to complete at a time when patients and their families are overwhelmed. Also, positive outcomes from participation in a clinical trial are not guaranteed. Participation can be a scary prospect.
With all of that said, though, OHC is committed to being on the forefront of clinical cancer research in the TriState. In fact, we are one of the largest private practices doing clinical trials in the country and are proud recipients of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s coveted Clinical Trial Participation Award. That makes OHC and our treatment offerings a unique choice to cancer patients.
We consider our leadership in clinical trials to be another component that serves our mission of putting “Patients First.” With that belief, we simply couldn’t just participate in trials. We needed to lead. To that end, OHC has become increasingly involved with clinical trial design, working with strategic partners to set the parameters and methodology of trials in which we participate.
There’s so much going on that is positive and progressive in the areas of genetic research, precision medicine, and pharmaceutical development. It’s all coming together to position Cincinnati, and OHC in particular, on the leading edge of personalized cancer care. It’s an exciting time to be in involved in this important endeavor.
On a personal note, I have been active in clinical trails for over 20 years. I feel more energized, committed and optimistic than ever before. I so strongly believe in the importance of clinical trials and I cannot envision a world where I’m not participating in clinical research.
This is my love.
Dr. Waterhouse is a principal investigator and chief of the Clinical Trial Research Department at OHC. His specialties include lung cancer, urologic cancer, and clinical trial research.