Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) was formed, in part, to bring promising new treatments to patients faster. For patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), this means more treatment options at SCCA than you might find elsewhere.
Many of our patients receive such therapies by taking part in one of many ongoing clinical studies conducted at SCCA and its founding organizations, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine. The doctors and scientists at SCCA are among the world-leading researchers working to better understand the causes of these diseases and provide effective treatments. As a patient, you may have access to new medications that are not yet on the market when you participate in a clinical study.
For general information, see the Patient Guide to Clinical Studies.
Why Consider a Study?
Many people decide to participate in clinical studies because standard treatment has been defined for only a small subset of patients. Studies give patients access to agents that are not commercially available but have shown promise and are being tested further.
Patients involved in such studies receive meticulous attention. Their disease course is followed very closely, and any change in their disease leads to a reassessment to determine the best approach at that time, including the possibility of removing them from the study or involving them in a different one. Our ability to follow and treat patients according to this strategy sets us apart as a unique center with worldwide recognition.
Researchers from SCCA regularly participate in scientific meetings, such as the annual International Symposium on Myelodysplastic Syndromes, where they present their latest findings and exchange information with experts from around the world. As a result, they are able to provide patients with the most recent knowledge in the field and on that basis make recommendations for care.
Kinds of Clinical Trials
Clinical trials for MPN typically focus on one of more of these main goals:
- Achieving better levels of healthy blood cells in the bloodstream and extending the effects longer
- Improving the cure rate
- Reducing the side effects of treatment
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.
Finding Clinical Studies
There are many studies underway that relate to the treatment of MPN. See information about myeloproliferative neoplasm clinical studies that are currently open and accepting patients at SCCA.
Each study is designed for a precise disease situation, so there are specific criteria for patients to participate.
It can be confusing to sort through the list of studies; many of which may not even apply to your situation, so be sure to ask your doctor if you would benefit from participating on a clinical study.
If you are not yet a patient at SCCA and would like to know whether we have any trials that you might be able to join, ask your doctor to call us to find out. Some of our trials are multi-center studies, which means you may be able to participate while still receiving treatment from your doctor in your home community.