Clinical trials have long been vital in studying all aspects of medicine, yet the general public may still have some uncertainty about what they incur.
Educating yourself on what clinical trials could mean for you or your family is key to making an informed decision. One group of physicians, nurses and scientists wants to spread the word that clinical trials are both safe and necessary to our nation’s continued effort against deadly diseases like cancer.
cCARE, a medical oncology and hematology group with a location in Encinitas, features five clinical sites and a dedicated staff of medical scientists and research coordinators within its research program.
Dr. Alberto Bessudo heads the cCARE research group and was trained in oncology and hematology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. After graduation in 1995, he was appointed to the faculty at UCSD Cancer Center as an Assistant Professor and was active in teaching, clinical and molecular immunology research.
Dr. Edward McClay is the director of the Melanoma Program with over 30 years of experience in melanoma clinical science. He has been a leader investigator in many of the national programs that have resulted in Melanoma treatment progress.
“There is a very good opportunity to get involved with these voluntary clinical trials,” Bessudo said. “It is important to test new treatments, but also test combinations of them as well. These trials improve how we treat cancer.”
A clinical trial is a research study designed to evaluate new treatments. The use of trials is critical when researching medicines to treat cancer. All new drugs and medical devices must go through clinical trials before being approved by the FDA. Bessudo said cCARE’s clinical research programs are instrumental in reinforcing a commitment to quality patient care.
“Clinical trials can prolong your life,” he said. “We have expertise, passion and backgrounds to answer any questions you may have.”
According to cCARE, clinical trials play a central role in improving treatment of medical conditions because they lead to higher standards of care. In the United States, all new cancer treatment products must meet evaluation criteria to ensure their alignment with specific levels of safety and effectiveness. Clinical trials are monitored by human subject committees and the FDA with patient safety in mind. They make sure patients are receiving standard of care, in addition to the trial drug hopping for additional benefit.
“We have a number of clinical trials that have recently opened in breast cancer for advanced disease,” said Dr. Laurie Frakes, cCARE’s board certified physician in medical oncology. “ People in our area may think they have to travel a great distance to find quality clinical trails. They are available right here.” Frakes’ practice focuses on breast cancer, but also includes general oncology and hematological disorders. She is involved in enrollment for upcoming trials and says the process is simple.
“Some of our patients are under the care of another oncologist and referred to us for a trial,” she said. “We work together with their oncologist to bring the best care to the patient.”
• Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy and Targeted small molecule treatments for Cancer
• Treatment of Benign and Malignant Hematological Disorders
• Treatment of Coagulation Disorders
• Clinical Research, Phase I, II and III clinical trials. Immunotherapy, targeted small molecule treatments and first in human trials
• Complex Laboratory Testing
• Genetic Risk Evaluationa
• Psychosocial Counseling, Integrative medical care and wellness center.
• Radiation Oncology Services with stereotactic body radiosurgery.