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The Benefits of Community-Based Clinical Trials

October 19, 2022

Approximately 10 million people died of cancer worldwide in 2021, with 600,000 deaths occurring in the United States. More research on cancer tumors needs to be done to reduce the number of people diagnosed with cancer. Additionally, patients must be tested to see if these treatments are effective, which is where oncology clinical trials come into play.

Medical research can inform why tumors grow and what can be done to reduce or eliminate them. Clinical trials introduce new drugs and therapies that can ease the suffering of those undergoing treatment. In an oncology clinical trial, researchers gather volunteers, ensure they meet the criteria, and provide treatment to see if it’s effective. Oncology clinical trials are specifically geared toward cancer patients, and as cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, these oncology clinical trials are crucial.

What Are the Benefits of Community-Based Clinical Trials?

When clinical trials are performed in small, rural areas (rather than in an academic setting), patients in that community are already familiar with their local doctors and nurses. Most cancer patients are treated in their community hospital, but most clinical trials are conducted in a university setting.

Eliminating this divide will help accelerate cancer research. Additionally, community oncology and research centers must collaborate to learn about cutting-edge technology or new drugs. Other benefits of clinical trials include the following. 

New Cutting-Edge Treatments

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and don’t have many treatment options, a new treatment could be available via a clinical trial. It may not be available as researchers are still testing it. However, this gives you life-saving access to treatments that aren’t available yet.  

Constant Surveillance

Some patients feel like they get lost in the medical system, and their needs aren’t met. However, you’re under constant surveillance when participating in a clinical trial. You get frequent medical check-ups, and your oncologist remains on top of any changes in your condition.

Improved Cancer Care

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) will only approve new drugs and treatment methods that have undergone a rigorous clinical trial. If there’s a promising treatment or medication for a specific type of cancer, patient participation can help bring that drug to the public faster.

How Do Community-Based Clinical Trials Address Patient Concerns?

Location

One of the benefits of clinical research in a community setting is more access to the care they need. Patients don’t have to travel far to participate in the clinical trial. They can get the new therapy, medicine, or treatment straight from their oncologist.

Trust

Trust is essential in community-based clinical trials. Primary physicians are the best people to recommend a clinical trial since they’ve already developed a relationship with the patient and understand their case. A community-based approach to clinical trials often attracts more volunteers, accelerating the treatment approval process. 

Improves the Diversity of Volunteers

Community oncology also improves clinical trial diversity because it brings the research directly to a diverse community already showing signs of cancer. The ideal pool of volunteers includes patients with life-threatening diseases. Oncologists can also offer patients a local community where they can share their progress and exchange resources.

Better Communication Between Medical Researchers and Patients

Patients are often concerned with side effects. Community clinical research allows physicians and nurses to be transparent about the clinical trials patients are about to undergo. The close relationship between the oncologists, medical researchers, and patients ensures better communication and outcomes.

How Can a Network Benefit Clinical Trials?

Local hospitals and clinics typically don’t have the resources and staffing to conduct a clinical trial. Additionally, oncologists in the network can learn about cutting-edge treatments and new ways to treat their patients. Community oncology centers are often small practices that may not have the finances or technology to treat their cancer patients with the best care. 

Working with a network gives them access to necessary lab tests and financial support. Moreover, medical researchers can identify patients’ molecular defects and the rate of tumor change to match patients with a clinical trial that meets their unique needs, improving overall patient care. 

At Nashville Oncology, we’re committed to improving cancer treatment for patients and their families through cutting-edge treatments and world-class clinical trials. Contact us to learn more about the clinical trials that are available to you.