Clinical Trials Myths…. Busted!

MYTH: Clinical trial participants are just human guinea pigs.

FACT: Clinical trial patients are partners with their research teams in the process of discovery. They receive some of the best therapies and treatments currently available and receive ongoing updates throughout the process. According the American Cancer Society, patients overwhelmingly rate their clinical trial experiences as positive, saying they were treated with dignity and respect.

MYTH: Clinical trials are dangerous.

FACT: All treatments must first undergo pre-clinical testing in laboratories. Once treatments are identified as being effective and as not having intolerable side effects, they move into clinical trials. In addition, patients must read and sign an informed consent document, which details potential risks and benefits, before participating in a trial. Patients are closely monitored by physicians throughout and can choose not to participate at any time.

MYTH: Clinical trial participants receive sugar pills.

FACT: The use of placebos is rare in cancer clinical trials. Study participants receive either the best standard treatment for their condition or the new treatment.

MYTH: Clinical trials are only for people whose other treatment has failed.

FACT: Cancer clinical trials differ according to their purpose. They exist for all types and all stages of cancer treatment, as well as for cancer prevention. There are also trials that focus on quality of life factors, as well as diagnostic tests or procedures.

—Marilee Griffin

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Summer 2014

Paul Okunieff, M.D

From the Director’s Desk

Clinical trials are at the heart of every advancement in treating cancer, yet lack of understanding about the benefits, risks and opportunities that trials offer can sometimes prevent patients from taking advantage of the newest drugs and treatments they make available.

To Kill a Tumor

Researchers in the UF Health Precision Cancer Care Program are identifying the genes of lung and colon cancer tumors, forming the first center in the state to perform this testing for solid tumors. By identifying particular gene mutations that drive cancers, physicians can deliver better, more targeted treatments to those cancers.

The Great Unknown

Each year, more than 1,000 patients take part in clinical trials at the UF Health Cancer Center. All are helping UF researchers chip away at the great unknown: what makes each person’s cancer tick, and how to stop that ticking without causing harm to the patient over the course of treatment.

Clear As A Bell

UF Health cancer patients and their treatment teams rang the Liminal Bell, an art installation consisting of a bell created from an oxygen tank that is suspended from an oak beam structure. The word liminal is derived from the Latin word “limen,” which means “threshold.”

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