What Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trials Involve

When a new drug is at the clinical trial stage, it has passed all the other steps of testing including trying it on animals. The only thing pending is approval from the Food and Drugs Board. The clinical trials are commonly used on different types of cancer that have become very aggressive. Although your doctor may not mention them, ask him/her the next time you see him. Some people have been delighted with the effects of the trial drugs. Thus, the term immunotherapy clinical trials stand for drugs that are yet to be approved but are at that stage where they can be tested on human beings to cure diseases like cancers.

What You Need to Know about Clinical Trials and the Phases Involved

Before you enroll yourself in a clinical trial, it is essential to ask your doctor all the questions that you may have. Let the doctor explain to you the possible side effects of using the specific drug. You should be aware of the expected results. Even from home, you should be able to tell if the medication is working as expected or something has gone wrong. Another question that you need to ask is about the finances. Who will cover the medical expenses? In most cases, the drug sponsor covers some of the cost of the treatment using his/her medicine for the clinical trial. Your insurance will pay for some of the expenses like consultation fees. Clinical trial drugs are administered in phases. The first stage will have very few people, and the number will increase as you approach phase four. The doctor will be observing how different people react to the drug and how it should be administered. The doctor will also find the right dose to fight a particular type of cancer.

An Example of a Successful Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Drug/Case

One successful case when clinical trial drugs have been used to cure cancer is in the use of CAR T cell therapy. The treatment relies heavily on the use of T cells to fight antigens and pathogens. The T cells are the primary disease-fighting cells in the body. The doctors will get some T cells from the patient’s blood, and then genetically engineer the cells to produce chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) which will help fight the pathogens in the tumor. When the genetically engineered CAR T cells are taken back to the patient’s body, they replicate and fight the cancerous cells. In August 2017, the use of CAR T cell therapy was approved. It is now legal to use it when treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children. Soon a second therapy will be recommended for used in adults with advanced lymphomas. Before the approval of CAR T therapy was only used in patients with advanced blood cancers.

The Benefits and Risks of Using Clinical Trial as Your Treatment Option

The benefits of using immunotherapy clinical trials are many. Both the patient and the researchers or doctors who are behind the clinical trial drug will benefit. The patient will get access to a drug that is not available to the general public. He or she will also get a chance of beating cancer since many patients have successfully fought cancer with clinical trial drugs. The treatment is also safe to the patient. As of the doctors, by administering the medication to patients, they will be a step closer to making the drug approved. As a patient, you will have helped the doctors come close to getting a lasting solution of curing cancer.

The drugs have some risks too. The most common risks being the fact that the drug may not work on your body. Even when it works, there will be some unforeseen side effects that you will have to experience. Your insurance company will not cover some costs.