Clinical trials are critical to developing the pioneering treatments of the future. Taking part in a trial could mean that patients will gain access to ground-breaking treatments which are not yet widely available. However, not everyone is eligible for inclusion. The researchers will be working from a protocol which outlines the strict entry criteria for joining the cohort.
In cancer research, the protocol for each trial will detail exactly which patients are eligible to take part. This is because, in a trial, patients need to be as similar as possible in order to rule out other factors influencing the outcomes. For example, people with coexisting conditions like diabetes, asthma and heart disease often cannot participate because they may be more at risk from suffering adverse effects. Equally those taking part in TQT Studies such as those offered by richmondpharmacology.com/specialist-services/tqt will also fit into a very particular group of individuals.
Common entry criteria for cancer research trials
Most clinical trials are testing a potential new treatment for a specific type of cancer, so all patients on the trial must be suffering from exactly the same type. The exceptions to this are phase 1 trials which sometimes cover several different cancers in their end stages, to test the safety and establish the optimum dosing level of certain drugs.
Stage of cancer is also important. Most trials designed to be conducted either within the NHS or utilising the services of a contract research organization will be designed for patients with a specific stage of cancer. Stages range from 1, which is localised, to 4 which means that the cancer has spread to the rest of the body.
Previous treatment is also a factor because a trial may be trying to establish what line of treatment to give next, for example, if patients have received certain sorts of chemotherapy, to varying degrees of success. So what treatment you have already had or are having is of paramount importance to researchers.
Research companies usually work to protocols which encompass a wide range of ages, although children and elderly patients have their own trials. This is because, for example, high dose chemotherapy trials may not be suitable for vulnerable groups owing to the harsh side effects and long-term implications.
For this reason, your general health and life expectancy will be taken into account, and low scores in this area may exclude patients from participating in order to reduce risk.