Are you looking for clinical trials for breast cancer? Buckle up: there are more than 11,000 listed on the official website, ClinicalTrials.gov. But you can choose the ones that suit you the best.
Here’s a look at the ongoing studies and how to find one you could join.
Trends to know
With thousands of studies underway, here’s a quick rundown of some of the themes that keep coming back. Your doctor can help you find out what might apply to you.
Immunotherapy and targeted therapies. Not all breast cancers are the same. Targeted therapies are tailored to specific types of cancer.
“The great thing drugs aim to do now is to selectively target a particular breast cancer so that the patients most likely to benefit from it are those who receive it,” says Sara Hurvitz, MD, director of the Breast Program. cancer clinical trials at UCLA Health.
Immunotherapy targets tumors with specific genetic markers. It is being studied in many types of cancer, including breast cancer.
Radiation. Researchers are studying new radiation approaches for low-risk, early-stage breast cancers.
“Trials are currently underway to see if less radiation can be given in a shorter time frame to certain patients who have a lower risk of early-stage breast cancer,” said Hurvitz.
Skip the surgery? Other trials are looking at whether certain treatments for breast cancer can help patients avoid surgery altogether, Hurvitz says.
“Researchers are wondering, if a tumor has responded well to chemotherapy or medication and has completely disappeared based on imaging before surgery, can we skip surgery? Hurvitz asks.
Stage IV treatments. Another study focuses on treating stage IV breast cancers that are fueled by hormones, such as estrogen receptor positive and progesterone receptor positive tumors. Researchers are looking at combinations of treatments.
“We currently have a trial that is trying to determine which is the best anti-estrogen. [medication] is, ”says Gena Volas-Redd, MD, medical oncologist and partner of Georgia Cancer Specialists, affiliated with the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. “Our goal is to keep people with these cancers off chemo. “
Ask your oncologist
Tell your oncologist that you are interested in a clinical trial. Ask them to help you find one.
“A medical oncologist is usually very up to date with research and what’s going on in the research world,” agrees Hurvitz.
“The very first thing to ask at your first appointment with your medical oncologist is, ‘Are you in clinical trials?’ », Explains Volas-Redd.
If the answer is “no,” she says, it may be time to find a new oncologist.
“You want your doctor to be aware of all aspects of the standard of care and beyond,” she says. “Clinical trials are testing new drugs, new targeted therapies and new combinations of what we already have. It really pushes the boundaries so you know you are getting the best quality care.
Refine your search
You can search for specific essays using keywords to filter the essays that suit you best on ClinicalTrials.gov.
For example, if you are looking for chemotherapy trials for stage I breast cancer, you should enter:
- Stage I breast cancer in the “Condition or disease” box.
- “Chemotherapy” in the “Other terms” box
- “United States” in the Country zone
- Your state
- Your city
- How far you are willing to travel.
Press “Search”. Filter results for essays that recruit or sign up by invitation. This way you only see trials that you can actually try to participate in now.
“There won’t be a clinical trial for every person diagnosed, but each person diagnosed should find out if there is an ongoing clinical trial for which they might be eligible,” Hurvitz said. “This is how we improve the treatment of this disease and improve the chances of a cure or survival … by doing the scientific experiment to prove that this intervention works.”