Clinical Trials for Pancreatic Cancer

Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that investigate new treatments or new combinations of treatments. Most treatments in use today are the results of past clinical trials.

Why Are Clinical Trials Important?

Clinical trials are the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat pancreatic cancer. Sometimes they may be the only way patients can get newer treatments.

Clinical trials are needed to:

  • Help develop new therapies
  • Better understand pancreatic cancer
  • Learn more about how to treat pancreatic cancer

Learn more about clinical trials for pancreatic cancers, or watch a video about the importance of participating in a clinical trial.

These links are to third-party websites.

How Clinical Trials Work

One misconception about cancer clinical trials is that some patients receive a placebo (inactive or a sugar pill) treatment. In most cancer clinical trials, this is not so. You will receive either a current treatment option or the new treatment being studied.

Patients volunteer to take part in clinical trials. They learn about the details of a specific clinical trial, so they can decide whether to join it, through a process of informed consent.

Clinical trials are designed to answer 2 basic questions:

  • Is the new treatment safe for humans?
  • Does the new treatment provide benefit to patients?

A clinical trial is classified as 1 of 3 phases. Each phase has a different goal.

Phase Typical Goal
1 Tests a new therapy in a small group of patients to find a safe dose and see how the treatment affects the human body.
2 Tests how well a new therapy or combination of therapies works for a specific type of cancer when given to a larger number of patients
3 Compares the new therapy to the standard therapy. These are randomized, meaning patients are put in a treatment group by chance.

A new drug or treatment must start with a phase 1 clinical trial.

Learn more about clinical trials by visiting the National Cancer Institute website, or watching a video about clinical trial processes, informed consent, and phases.

These links are to third-party websites.

How to Find Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials

A variety of online sources are available to help you and your healthcare team find a clinical trial appropriate for you.

For some search tools to find pancreatic cancer clinical trials, visit any of the following resources:

These links are to third-party websites.

Clinical Trials, Costs, and Payments

One thing to consider when deciding whether to take part in a clinical trial is cost. Some services may be paid for by the trial’s sponsor and others by the patient’s health insurance. It’s a good idea to figure out who is paying for what beforehand.

Read a discussion of these issues

This link is to a third-party website.

Glossary of Cancer Research Statistic Terms

While researching clinical trials, you may come across or hear a variety of unfamiliar cancer research statistics terms.