Clinical Trials

Clinical trials help researchers learn which approaches are most successful in fighting cancer.

As a patient being treated at Sentara, you may be eligible to take part in a clinical trial ― a study that evaluates a new drug or treatment.
A number of standard treatments used today were first shown to be effective in clinical trials. As patients continue to participate in these valuable studies, new and better treatments for cancer are being discovered.

Patients who qualify for a clinical trial decide whether to participate with the advice of their physician. How a treatment will work for a patient in a trial cannot be known ahead of time. Therefore, qualified patients should understand both the risks and benefits of clinical trials before making their decisions.

Patients will never be placed on a clinical trial without their knowledge or permission. All qualified patients involved in clinical trials will sign consent forms before the study begins.

Before a new treatment is administered to patients, it is carefully studied for several years in the laboratory and tested for safety. This research points out the new methods most likely to succeed and, as much as possible, shows how to use them safely and effectively.

When the research phase is over, clinical trials continue with a rigorous approval process by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Sentara Healthcare. Although there is always a chance that a new treatment will be disappointing, the researchers and physicians who approve a study have reason to believe that it will be as good as or better than current treatments. If you qualify, we hope that you and your family will consider participating in this worthwhile endeavor.

There are a number of promising clinical trials being conducted all over the country for patients with cancer, and many of these are being conducted right here at Sentara. Please do not hesitate to talk with your physician about participation in appropriate clinical trials. You have a right to know what trials are available.