Why Should a CLL Patient Consider a Clinical Trial? | Transcript | Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia | Patient Power


Why Should a CLL Patient Consider a Clinical Trial?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Jeff Folloder:

When should a patient consider participating in a clinical trial?

Patty Gibson:     

The physicians are usually the ones that refer them to think, “This is the time for treatment,” and to look for different drugs, potentially the non-standard of care, the new drugs that they’re looking at. And, so at that point, they’re referred to the research departments, and we go through to make sure the patients are eligible for the study by going through a series of tests, whether they’re standard of care or required for research only.                 

Tests like a physical exam, lab work, potential bone marrow is required for the study, scans, those sorts of things. We collect all the data, make sure they’re eligible, and they start the treatment and go from there.

And they are monitored quite heavily.

Jeff Folloder:     

Most people—let’s be honest. Most people consider participating in a clinical trial as being somewhat of a guinea pig scenario. I use the words. I apologize. Is that an accurate description? Are we guinea pigs when we go into a clinical trial?

Patty Gibson:     

No, not really. Prior to the clinical trial putting it to the front of putting it out there in the community for patients to enroll, it has been, the drugs have been, tested in a different phase. There’s Phase I, II, III, and some IV clinical trials. That just depends on, there are different numbers of patients that are asked to go on these trials. The Phase I there’s a small group, two a little larger, etc. Once they determine doses and safety aspects of the drug, then they move it on to the next trial.

And, more and more patients then go on clinical trials. Like Dr. Burke referred to earlier and Dr. Wierda, we’re no place without the clinical trials, because that’s what moves the cancer treatment forward. With all of you that do participate in clinical trials, it’s a big thank you to you for participating.

Jeff Folloder:     

How many of you have participated in a clinical trial? Okay, a good number.

Dr. Wierda:          

Let me just add one thing, and that is we’ve made great strides in treatment for pediatric leukemias in the country and in the world, and that’s only been possible because most pediatric patients are treated on a clinical trial. Virtually all the pediatric patients who have leukemia need to be treated on a clinical trial. That’s very much in contrast to adult leukemia treatments where if you look across the country, the majority of individuals are not getting treated on a clinical trial. They’re getting some standard of care.                  

So I think the pediatric example is a great example. It’s somewhat mandated, but at the same time that’s really the only way that the great progress that has been made in pediatric leukemia particularly has been made. We aim to develop clinical trials and to have options. We aim to have a clinical trial option for every patient that comes to our institution.               

In my opinion and all of our opinions at Anderson—and I think across the country—is that those options have to have the potential of being better than what the standard of care is. So I think you have to go with that mindset and, again, as I’ve mentioned already, we would not make any progress. Progress would stop completely if we didn’t have clinical research and clinical trials.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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Page last updated on August 17, 2017