Lung Cancer Clinical Trials
Lung cancer clinical trials are research studies that help to determine whether new treatments are safe and effective, or better than existing treatments. In addition to treatments, new imaging tests, diagnostics, surgery methods, and more are researched in clinical trials. The clinical trial process can take years before the research is approved, so trials provide limited early access. The 5-year survival rate for all stages of lung cancer is less than 16% and has the third most new cases per year in the United States. The need for more effective treatments and improved care for patients is crucial.
Why are Clinical Trials Important?
Lung cancer clinical trials are important because their results help doctors understand which treatments, or combinations of treatments, provide the best results. Clinical trials have been identified as the primary means for discovering the most effective treatments and cures for cancer, especially in lung cancer, as it is responsible for more deaths than any other cancer type in both men and women.
Some people question if the new treatments in trials are safe. Treatments are only brought to clinical trials after significant prior research shows they have promise. Many of today's standard cancer treatments were first proven to be effective in carefully planned clinical trials.
Treatments in Lung Cancer Clinical Trials
In lung cancer, clinical trials have helped doctors discover targeted treatments, as well as helping to define how best to combine standard treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation. Immunotherapy has improved the treatment of lung cancer, so it remains a major focus in today’s research for many cancer types. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are investigative drugs that block proteins on cells in the immune system to allow them to fight cancer. Immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies are used to treat lung cancer in clinical trials today, examples of these drugs include:
These drugs may help the body's immune system attack the cancer and may interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread in the body. In addition, targeted therapies are also being developed to identify the differences (biomarkers) in cancer cells from normal cells and targeting them. There are targeted therapies available for lung cancer with these biomarkers:
- BRAF V600E
Everyone is different, so clinical trials have specific enrollment criteria, meaning not all patients will be eligible. However, there are more than 1,000 clinical trials in the United States for lung cancer. Therefore, it is important to speak with your doctor to find out if a clinical trial could benefit you.