Promising new cancer drugs are developed in the laboratory and translated into better treatments for cancer patients using clinical trials. Trials are an important final step in a long process to prove the effectiveness and safety of cancer treatments. Many people with cancer are now living longer, with a better quality of life, due to clinical trials.

Life scientist researching in the laboratory.

What is a clinical trial?

A Clinical trial is an approved scientific study of medicines and new treatment options to confirm whether medicines are safe and effective to introduce as new treatments for a particular disease or condition. Clinical trials may also be used to determine whether an existing medicine can be safely and effectively used for other diseases and conditions.

Clinical trials are designed to answer questions such as:

  • Does a treatment work?
  • Does it work better than other treatments?
  • Does it have any side effects?

All clinical trials are examined and approved by ethics committees and must meet rigorous government and medical standards before recruitment can begin. This approval process provides assurance to participants that their rights and any research benefits and risks have been carefully considered.

Well-designed clinical trials are vital to advancing medical knowledge and improving the treatment, care and quality of life of cancer patients.

What are the benefits of participating in a clinical trial?

Main benefit:

  • Participation in a clinical trial gives you access to cutting-edge, potentially life-saving and life-enhancing treatments that are not yet available for clinical practice, which in turn may improve your quality of life.
  • The public health cost of leukaemia and lymphoma is significant; the drugs offered during clinical trials are often provided at no cost to participants.
  • Some patients have no alternatives for treatment and permanent debilitation or death are imminent. Participating in a clinical trial may give these patients hope or possibilities that do not otherwise exist.
  • Your participation contributes to the advancement of medicine and helps others who share or may develop your condition.

If you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial, please discuss with your doctor.

Please refer to the FAQs section of this website for answers to some commonly asked questions regarding clinical trials.