Information on clinical trials

We know that people affected by cancer will have many questions.

We hope that the below questions and answers will help you find out more about:

  • Clinical trials
  • How to find out whether a trial may be suitable for you
  • Where to find out more information


What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are medical research studies involving people.  Clinical trials in cancer test new treatments, ways to reduced side effects of treatments and how to control symptoms.  Trials are the only reliable way to find out if a new treatment is safe and works better than the current treatment.

Which specific cancers are these trials targeting?

The main cancers that these clinical trials are treating are advanced stages of: malignant melanoma (skin cancer), lung cancer (non-small and small cell), non-hodgkin lymphoma, pancreatic cancer and in some cases neuroblastoma.  However, specific criteria will need to be met before a trial is offered.

How do I join these clinical trials?

Speak to your cancer specialist, GP or treating physician if you are interested in taking part.  He/she will either refer you to the Southampton Centre or, if appropriate, help you find another centre where the trial is open.

How do you decide who can take part in a trial?

Once you have been referred, the specialist centre will screen patients for eligibility through various tests, in accordance with strict protocol.  If the patient meets all the relevant criteria and the physician agrees with the patient that participation is in their best interest, he/she is able to participate in a trial.  The patient will of course be asked for their full consent.

What treatment is involved in the trials?

Every trial is different.  Treatment will be individually tailored to the patient and their diagnosis.  Your cancer specialist will be able to advise you further but full details of the treatment is discussed with the patient at the chosen centre.