At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC), we know that battling cancer is challenging for you and your family and we are dedicated to providing you with advanced and personalized cancer care. Together with US Oncology Research, we are able to provide you with access to the latest clinical trials involving new investigational cancer agents. Because we offer a comprehensive array of cancer treatment and support services, you and your family can receive all your care and support services in one of our convenient locations.
Our extensive network of oncologists on Colorado’s Front Range includes experts in all types of cancers, with experienced investigators and dedicated staff specializing in Phase I-IV oncology clinical trials. Our oncologists are very active in clinical research, helping to develop new therapies. They have published numerous articles in peer-reviewed medical journals describing their findings in these trials. To date, our physicians along with the US Oncology Network have published over 1,500 studies in peer-reviewed journals. Because of our ongoing participation in clinical research, we are able to offer the latest therapies for patients.
Through US Oncology Research, we have conducted more than 1,600 trials with more than 400 active at any given time. As Colorado’s only nationally recognized, community-based research program, our patients have access to clinical trials in all major cancer types. We recently celebrated the significant milestone of exceeding 100 FDA-approved cancer therapies.
RMCC is one of 68 community-based practices in The US Oncology Network, including nearly 500 sites of care, many of which offer patients a chance to participate in advanced clinical trials usually available only in major academic medical centers or hospital systems. Thanks to the efforts of Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers and US Oncology Research, 1,000+ physicians, 80,000+ participants, and 165+ locations have come together to advance hope for the future through clinical trials.
We understand the importance clinical trials play in moving closer to a cure. Clinical trial research is an integral part of our mission at RMCC. We know today’s research will guide the improvements for tomorrow’s cancer care. Our goal is to provide direct access for our patients to the most advanced investigational treatment options available. We’re making great strides every day in improving outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients.
Clinical trials are research studies conducted with people who volunteer to participate in the testing of new therapies. They can be used for initial treatment, prevention of recurrence, and treatment of advanced stage disease. The purpose of these studies is to find better therapies for cancer treatment.
Clinical research trials are designed by physicians and researchers who develop an action plan (protocol) that describes what will be done in the study, how it will be conducted, and why each part of the study is necessary. Each study has eligibility criteria for who can or cannot participate in the study, which may include type of cancer, age, gender, medical history, and current health status. This protocol is used by every doctor taking part in the study.
A doctor, nurse, or someone from the research team will provide you with important facts about the study, purpose of the study, tests and other procedures used, and any possible risks and benefits. You will also receive a written consent form explaining the study. You may stop participating in the study at any time.
Clinical research trials are conducted according to strict scientific and ethical principles, and groups of experts at the national and local level approve research studies before they begin. One important group that evaluates clinical trials is the institutional review board (IRB) of the research organization implementing the trial. An IRB is made up of doctors, researchers, community leaders, and other members of the community. This board is focused on protecting the safety of the participants by reviewing the protocol to make sure the study is conducted fairly and that participants are well-informed of their rights during the study.
We understand patients’ hesitation about receiving drugs that are not approved by the FDA, but each clinical trial has gone through comprehensive reviews to ensure that everyone is treated safely and ethically. All drugs are tested prior to giving them to any human subjects. It is true that Phase I trials are designed to find a safe but effective dose. But again, the drugs and the clinical trial protocol are extensively reviewed prior to a Phase I trial. In a Phase II or III trial, decisions about safe doses of drugs are based off of the Phase I study information.
While many studies include placebos (a “drug” with no active ingredients), the placebo is used in studies where the standard of care treatment option may not work as well as we would like and researchers try to understand if additional medication is better than what is considered standard. It’s important to point out that everyone on these trials will still receive the standard of care; some patients will additionally receive the trial drug.
Generally, research subjects do not have to pay anything additional for the costs associated with their care when they are part of a clinical trial. All “routine care” costs that you would receive anyway are billed to the patient and/or insurance. The other types of costs associated with a study are considered “research costs” and will not be billed to insurance or you.
It is more likely that there are clinical trials available even when there are standard treatment options available as well. Studies often involve the standard treatment option plus an additional medication to see if it helps. There are also clinical trials available that help prevent or treat symptoms of treatment, gather information about quality of life, or are meant to help prevent cancer. In some cases, a provider offers a clinical trial when there are no further standard-of-care options available to treat a patient. The decision to participate in a trial is a very personal one and we always want our patients to be well-informed of their options.
If you choose to participate in a study, you will always have the right to change your mind. This is true even if you’ve signed a consent form or have started treatment. The decision to participate in a trial or continue in a trial is always yours. We do recommend that you discuss your decision to go off study with your provider to ensure you stop your treatment in the safest way possible.