Doctors at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance are involved in leading-edge research evaluating novel ways of detecting and treating ovarian cancer--from locating potential tumor markers in blood to the psychological impact of support groups.
Several experimental treatments are now being offered for women with ovarian cancer. They include using a combination of high-dose chemotherapy and peripheral blood stem cell support, biologic therapy (stimulating cells of the immune system), and gene therapy (treatment aimed at correcting abnormalities of cancer cells).
Not all patients are cured with standard therapy, and some standard treatments may have more side effects than are desired; therefore, patients may seek help through a clinical trial. Patients who take place in 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. Although clinical trials may pose some risk, researchers take careful steps to protect people who take part.
Clinical trials come in four phases. In Phase I trials, researchers try to determine 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.
Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trials at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
For more information about clinical studies, see the Patient Guide to Clinical Trials which includes Myths vs Facts.