Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) has one of the most active clinical trial programs in the world — providing new hope for our patients every day.
Through clinical trials, our patients gain access to promising new treatments. Every advance in cancer treatment has resulted from clinical trials. For example, bone marrow transplantation, which is considered the most important advance in cancer treatment of the last quarter century started right here.
Today’s clinical trials turn cancer research into real-world treatments and cures.
How does SCCA research benefit me?
It’s always up to you whether to take part in a clinical trial. One potential benefit is that you may be among the first to get access to a promising new treatment. Even if you decide not to participate, the fact that SCCA provides treatment for patients in trials is a good reason to come here for your care.
Because of SCCA’s commitment to developing advances in treatment and our reputation as a hub for research, we attract the best and most experienced doctors, who can offer you access to the latest treatment options. SCCA also attracts patients who are more likely to be savvy health care consumers: patients who are interested in treatment options beyond those offered in the community setting and who expect — and receive — a high standard of care.
SCCA, Fred Hutch and UW Medicine form the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington state.
Why do clinical trials matter?
Clinical trials are essential to disease research and are a key component of SCCA’s mission to translate scientific discoveries into prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure for cancer and all the conditions we treat. Without clinical trials, new interventions could not be approved.
Every advance in cancer treatment in recent years has come out of clinical trials.Take just one important example: Bone marrow transplantation, among the most significant medical advances of the 20th century, was developed by researchers at Fred Hutch. Now used to treat many kinds of cancers and noncancerous blood disorders, this life-saving treatment would not exist without patients who were willing to participate in clinical trials.
Who are clinical trials for?
The goal of clinical studies is to increase our knowledge about diseases and to develop safer, more effective treatments in the fight against them. Cancer is complex, and there are clinical trials that look at many aspects and stages of the disease — trials are not just for patients in the final stages of their illness. There are trials:
- To examine ways to prevent cancer in healthy people
- To better detect and diagnose cancer
- For patients starting initial treatment and for patients who relapse
- To assess the quality of life of cancer patients and survivors
What do clinical trials test?
Many clinical trials test new interventions or new combinations of interventions in people, sometimes referred to as human subjects or study participants. New interventions include:
- Medical products, such as drugs and devices
- Procedures, such as surgery and radiation therapy techniques
- Behavior changes, such as diet and exercise
Some clinical trials focus on the long-term effects of treatments already in use.
Before reaching clinical trials, a new intervention typically will have been studied in the laboratory (nonclinical studies) and in animals (pre-clinical studies). Clinical trials are carefully designed to answer questions about the safety and effectiveness of the intervention in people. Clinical trial participants are closely monitored throughout the study.