Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) was formed, in part, to bring promising new treatments to patients faster. For patients with pancreatic cancer, this may mean more treatment options at SCCA than you might find elsewhere, including the chance to participate in clinical studies conducted at SCCA and its founding organizations, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine.
- Ask your doctor whether there are any clinical studies at SCCA that might be right for you.
- See information about pancreatic cancer clinical studies that are currently open and accepting patients at SCCA.
- For general information about clinical studies, see the Patient Guide to Clinical Studies.
Not all patients are cured with standard therapy, and some standard treatments may have more side effects than desired. So patients may seek help through clinical studies. Patients who participate in these studies, also called clinical trials, have the first chance to benefit from treatments that have shown promise in earlier research. They also make an important contribution to medical science by helping doctors learn more about the disease.
Researchers are currently looking at new chemotherapy drugs and are studying combinations of chemotherapy drugs with radiation therapy. Research is also under way to evaluate pancreas cancer vaccines intended to stimulate the patient’s immune system. Patients whose disease has spread can use many of these procedures.
Clinical trials come in four phases:
- In Phase I trials, investigators try to determine the safe dose levels.
- In Phase II trials, which involve a larger group of patients, researchers hope to build on what they learned in the first phase by trying to establish whether cancers will respond to the safe dose levels and to determine what side effects will occur.
- In Phase III trials, researchers compare the experimental treatment with the standard treatment or a placebo to prove whether the new treatment is truly effective.
- In Phase IV trials, researchers monitor the effects of long-term usage.