About Clinical Trials

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Research studies explore the different factors that affect health and lead to disease.

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View our clinical trials brochure.

Clinical trials test the safety and effectiveness of new cancer drugs and treatments. They help us find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer. Nearly all cancer treatments used today began with clinical trials.

At any given time, Huntsman Cancer Institute has an average of 200 clinical trials open to cancer patients. Through clinical trials, we hope to find new ways to improve treatments and the quality of life for people with cancer.

Researchers design cancer clinical trials to test new ways to:

  • Treat cancer
  • Find and diagnose cancer
  • Prevent cancer
  • Manage symptoms of cancer and side effects from treatments

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration must approve new treatments before they can be widely used. Clinical trials are part of the approval process for new drugs and treatments. Learn more about types of cancer clinical trials from the National Cancer Institute.

Benefits & Risks

Clinical trials are experiments, so they may have risks as well as benefits. Risks depend on the treatment being studied and the health of people who participate.

Benefits: Patients in clinical trials may receive treatments not yet available to everyone. But there is no guarantee that clinical trial treatments will help your medical condition. Taking part in the search for new and better cancer treatments can be personally satisfying. You will be helping others.

Risks: Clinical trial treatments can cause side effects and other health risks. The risks depend on the type of treatment and your health. You always make the final decision about taking part, and not until after you understand all the potential risks and benefits. You have the right to stop participating in a clinical trial at any time and for any reason.

Phases of Clinical Trials

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Clinical trials start with early discover and ongoing research and then go through the following phases.

Phase I

  • Safety and best dosage levels are determined
  • 12-24 participants

Phase II

  • Response to new treatment is recorded and analyzed
  • Under 100 participants

Phase III

  • Results are compared between new and standard treatment
  • Hundreds of participants

Phase IV

  • Treatment is approved and marketed
  • Thousands of people involved

How to Participate

Patient participants are essential to clinical trials. Ask your doctor if a clinical trial is right for you. Each clinical trial accepts patients with a specific type and stage of cancer. In general, you must meet these conditions:

  • Doctors have diagnosed and checked the stage of your cancer.
  • A doctor has reviewed your general health, and your health meets study requirements.
  • We have answered all your questions about the clinical trial.
  • You understand the possible benefits and risks of participating in a clinical trial.
  • You have signed and submitted your informed consent form.

Before you decide to take part, doctors and clinical trial coordinators tell you all the known risks. The medical team closely watches the health of every patient who participates.

Contact the Clinical Trials Office

For more information about clinical trials, contact the Cancer Learning Center:

1-888-424-2100
cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu