Spring 2010
ASK THE EXPERTS: Clinical Trials
ASK THE EXPERTS: Clinical Trials

Andrew Kenler, MD

Q: What is a clinical trial?

Surgeon Andrew Kenler, MD, responds:

A: Major medical advances are developed thanks to the willingness of people who participate in clinical trials. Clinical trials are research studies that measure the effectiveness of new drugs or treatments not yet available to the general public. These studies provide some participants with new medications, surgical or medical procedures and/or medical devices. At any given time, there are 60 to 75 ongoing clinical trials at Bridgeport Hospital, primarily in oncology (cancer) and cardiovascular (heart) research.

Most often in a clinical trial, a new drug or a new combination of existing drugs is tested to evaluate its actual results on people with the disease, 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, reviews every clinical trial to ensure that safety is maximized and risks are minimized.

Whether or not to participate in a clinical trial is a personal decision that should be weighed with a physician who knows the health history of the person considering participation. Some questions to consider are: What is the main purpose of the trial? What treatments will be used and how? Are there any risks? How long will the trial last? Can I choose to remain on this treatment, even after the end of the trial?

There are no guarantees that a new drug will work for a particular patient. But by participating in a clinical trial, the participant may be able to benefit today from a new treatment that won’t be widely available for some time. More importantly, the study may reveal a discovery that will help future generations of patients.

Clinical Trials at Bridgeport Hospital

For information about clinical trials at Bridgeport Hospital, please visit ClinicalTrials. Or, for specific information:

  • Cancer Clinical Trials: Call the Dr. Richard W. Kmetzo Cancer Resource Center at Bridgeport Hospital at 203-384-3904 or e-mail cancerresources@bpthosp.org
  • Cardiovascular Clinical Trials: Call Tina Cullen, RN, at
A Clearer Vision of Cancer Care
  • Outpatient Chemotherapy Infusion Suite with expansive views of Long Island Sound
  • The Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center Mammography Suite with stereotactic biopsy and state-of-the-art digital mammography
  • Dr. Richard W. Kmetzo Cancer Resource Center providing patients and families with access to a broad range of diagnostic, treatment and support services

For more information, please visit The Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute

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