Participating In Lymphoma Clinical Trials

Participating in clinical trials

There are lots of different types of research study that patients might be asked to take part in. Not all clinical research is necessarily about new drugs and can involve just the collection of samples, observing patients or looking at their quality of life in relation to their health. However these studies are just as important in finding out how best to treat patients.

There are different types of clinical trial that involve drugs. Some clinical trials consist of one type of treatment. Others include a process known as randomisation, which means that patients are randomly allocated (like tossing a coin) to one of two or more courses of treatment. These treatments may include new drugs, new combinations of drugs or what is already considered to be standard treatment. When a clinical trial includes randomisation, nobody (not the patient or the medical staff) know beforehand which treatment the participants will be allocated to. Randomisation is done by computer and this allocation concealment is an important step to ensure that the trial is a fair test of the treatments. Not all patients taking part in a trial will necessarily be given the drug that is being tested, but will get a currently used drug instead.

The main benefits of taking part in a Clinical Trial

  • Participants may be able to try new treatments that are not otherwise available to all patients
  • Participants are usually monitored very closely
  • New treatments might be more effective than standard treatments
  • By taking part you are contributing to a growing body of knowledge about your illness and potential treatments for it that will help the patients of the future

The main risks of taking part in a Clinical Trial

  • Not all participants receive the study drug, so participation might mean that you receive the standard therapy that you would have received anyway
  • You may be asked to undergo extra tests or complete more questionnaires than you would otherwise
  • New treatments may or may not be more effective than the standard treatments
  • New treatments may or may not be more hazardous than standard treatments

All of these should be explained to you thoroughly by your medical team. You should have the opportunity to have any questions answered and if necessary to discuss your options with your family or partner.

If you participate in a clinical trial or any other research study, it is important to remember:

  • You can ask any questions about the study – your medical team will do their best to answer them
  • Make sure you understand the aim of the study
  • You will remain anonymous (your name isn’t used when information is collected for the trial)
  • You should have the best possible care made available to you (this means if we find out something could improve your treatment whilst you’re on the study, we will tell you)
  • You should be told of any known side effects of any drug or treatment you may be given
  • Every clinical trial or research study is very specific about which patients can take part. Some will only accept patients that are newly diagnosed. Some can only accept patients that have had (for example) two courses of treatment
  • You have the right to withdraw (remove yourself) from the study at any time
  • You will be told the results of the study once it has concluded

Your participation in a clinical trial should always be your choice. It’s not for everyone - if you decide to withdraw at any time you will simply return to standard NHS care.

View Trials

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust UKCRC Plymouth University Peninsula

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