The Four Phases of Clinical Trials

March 1, 2022

Clinical trials exist for many different types of medical treatments and products. These trials are a way for doctors and patients to test the most up-to-date and state-of-the-art treatments available for a disease. Cancer clinical trials are a way for you to participate in a study while possibly improving your condition.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team offers a variety of clinical trials for several different types of cancer. Our practice is led by five highly trained oncologists and hematologists. Our physicians are happy to help you get started in a clinical trial specific to your form of cancer if you qualify.

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are research studies that involve human participants and are designed to study the effects of treatments on a certain population. The goal of the clinical trial is to evaluate how effective the drug or treatment is on the participants’ specific condition and overall health.

Clinical trials involve volunteers, meaning you sign up on your own to participate. There are often certain criteria you have to meet to be a part of such a trial. These studies are designed to test a number of different interventions in medicine, including:

  • Medical devices
  • Radiology procedures
  • Medications
  • Surgical procedures

Biological procedures and cells are other types of treatments that are involved in clinical trials. Cancer research uses clinical trials to study the outcomes of new treatments on different types of cancer. This helps to determine if a medical treatment has positive outcomes for these individuals.

Why are clinical trials important?

Clinical trials are vital to the improvement of the healthcare system. These trials allow for possible improvements in treatments and therapies for thousands of different diseases, including cancer.

Without clinical trials, medicine wouldn’t be able to move forward, with new and improved treatment options. The trials allow for potential cures, and for an overall improved outcome of millions of patients across the country.

These trials also allow us to see if the benefits of a potential treatment outweigh the side effects or risks. The different phases of clinical trials determine the side effects among a large group of people, to see if the treatment is worth it in the end.

If you’re suffering from a specific type of cancer, a clinical trial could be a way for you to get a new type of treatment when others haven’t helped. It gives you a chance to get the newest treatments available when the trial is focused on your type of cancer.

The different phases of clinical trials

Clinical trials go through several different phases before the treatment can be considered for approval for large-scale use. Each phase uses volunteers to test out the treatment and to determine if it’s safe for use. The four phases that clinical trials go through include:

Phase 1

The first phase of a clinical trial is to ensure first and foremost that the drug or treatment is safe for humans. It allows the researchers to determine a safe dosage for medications, and to learn how the treatment works within your body. This phase also identifies any adverse effects, and only involves a small number of participants.

Phase 2

Once the drug or treatment is determined to be safe, it can move into phase two of the trial. This phase is similar to phase one, but it requires a larger number of participants. This helps to determine the adverse effects on a larger number of people, to determine if the treatment is viable.

Phase 3

After the second phase has been completed, and the treatment is still being considered for widespread use, phase three of the clinical trial begins. In this stage, the drug or treatment is studied on a much larger scale. It involves many more participants, and is conducted in other regions and other countries. This is often the phase that occurs right before the treatment is considered for approval.

Phase 4

This phase occurs after the treatment or drug has been approved for use by a governing body, such as the FDA. Even though it’s been approved for use, there still may be aspects that need to be studied on more people over a longer timeframe. It can involve thousands of participants, and allows for more research into important information that still needs to be learned about the treatment.

At our facility, our team offers a number of different clinical trials if you suffer from conditions such as multiple myeloma, myelofibrosis, and polycythemia vera. Our doctors help you figure out if a clinical trial could help you.

If you’re interested in learning more about clinical trials for your condition, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our expert doctors today.

About HHO

Hunterdon Hematology Oncology is a community oncology group, dedicated to fighting cancer in this community and across the region. Our Doctors, Physician’s Assistants and Nurses work tirelessly. They fight hard so that you can win.


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