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Clinical research trials are a type of clinical research study, done to find better ways to treat cancer. New England Cancer Specialists is the region’s leader in cancer care and clinical cancer research, with partners in Boston and beyond. If you are diagnosed with cancer, a research trial might be a good option for treatment of your cancer. Talk to your care team at any time if you are interested in participating in clinical research.

When your doctor discusses treatment options with you, he or she may talk to you about participating in a clinical trial. Participation in clinical  trials is voluntary, and patients are carefully monitored for potential side effects. Patients are often motivated to participate because they are getting access to a new medication that they could not get in any other way. Some patients simply like the idea that they may help to improve our knowledge about a certain type of cancer that can help other patients in the future.

Before patients participate in a clinical research trial, they will have to be educated through a process called informed consent. Patients will receive a detailed written summary of what will be done, and then they will have the opportunity to discuss their questions with a physician, as well as a clinical research coordinator. Afterwards, patients will be asked to sign a form that explains everything in detail, and will receive a copy of that form.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Clinical Trials.

Learn more about our Partners in Innovation.

Types of Clinical Trials

There are different types of clinical research trials, each with a different focus.

Treatment/Intervention: A treatment or intervention trial explores a treatment with a new medication, or combinations of new medications, which typically are not available for general use. Participating in a treatment or intervention trial can offer patients access to a new treatment they otherwise could not  receive. 

Observational: These trials follow patients receiving standard treatments by collecting de-identified data. There is no change in treatment because they are on a study.

Translational: Translational research studies typically use blood or tissue samples that are collected from patients who have agreed to participate. Often, these samples are used for research such as genetic analysis to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Participating in a translational research study will not change the type of therapy a patient will receive.