Fall 2004
Tomorrow's Medicines Today:
Cancer Clinical Trials at Bridgeport Hospital

When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, everything in your life comes to a halt until you know that treatments have the cancer in remission.

Doctors today use three main methods to accomplish that goal:

  • Surgery to remove the cancer
  • Radiation therapy (using X-rays to kill cancer cells in a particular site, such as the breast)
  • Chemotherapy (using drugs to target cancer cells throughout the body)
  • These treatments have saved thousands and thousands of lives since the 1950s, when chemotherapy and radiation began to be widely used. But for some people the current drug treatments simply don't work. Either the cancer cells can't be completely eliminated, or they disappear and then come back (a relapse).

    If your loved one is one of those whose cancer does not respond to current drugs, there is still hope. More and more lives are being saved as new treatments and combinations are developed. And the oncologists at Bridgeport Hospital, on the leading edge of cancer care, are taking part in clinical trials of many of these new drugs. This makes Bridgeport Hospital one of the best places to come for cancer treatment.

    A clinical trial is a study of a new drug or a new combination of existing drugs, to evaluate its actual results on people with cancer, or to determine the best dosage. A trial is begun only after a drug has gone through many tests for effectiveness and has received governmental approval to be used for humans. Bridgeport Hospital's Institutional Review Board (IRB), a committee of dedicated scientists and non-scientists, also reviews every clinical trial to insure that safety is maximized and risks are minimized.

    And your loved one may be able to benefit today from one of these new treatments that won't be widely available until some time in the future.

    Deciding Whether to Participate

    Whether to take part in a clinical trial or not is a personal decision. Here are some questions to ask the oncologist that will help in the decision-making.

    • What is the main purpose of the trial?
    • What treatments will be used and how?
    • How will patient safety be monitored?
    • Are there any risks?
    • What are the possible benefits?
    • How long will the trial last?
    • What other treatments are available besides the one being tested in the trial?
    • Who is sponsoring the trial?
    • Do I have to pay for any part of the trial?
    • What happens if I am harmed by the trial?
    • Can I choose to remain on this treatment, even after the end of the trial?

    A list of oncology clinical trials available through Bridgeport Hospital oncologists can be found at www.bridgeporthospital.com. Don't have a computer? You're welcome to use the one in our Dr. Richard W. Kmetzo Cancer Resource Center in The Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute to research clinical trials. Or you can ask your oncologist.

    There are no guarantees that a new drug will work for a particular patient. But many people have elected to take part in this type of treatment. By doing so, they are certainly helping to develop more effective, less toxic treatments for future patients. And they may be improving their own treatment outcomes.

    Other Clinical Trials at Bridgeport Hospital

    Bridgeport Hospital is dedicated to providing treatments and medications that are at the forefront of medical science in many clinical areas. Bridgeport Hospital physicians have carefully reviewed and chosen to participate in clinical trials in the following areas to provide options to qualified patients.

    • Cardiovascular Research
    • Infectious Disease Research
    • Musculoskeletal Pain Research
    • Neuroscience Research
    • Oncology Research