What is a Clinical Trial?
A clinical trial is a carefully designed research study involving people. Each study has a specific aim, which may include finding better ways to:
Improve a woman’s quality of life during and after treatment
The main aim of clinical trials is to find out if a new treatment or procedure:
Is safe and has side effects
Works better than the current standard treatment
Your doctor may suggest you take part in a clinical trial, or you may ask if there is a trial you can be part of. Not every woman will be eligible for all trials. You will need to meet the guidelines for any proposed trial. If there is a trial suitable for you, speak with your healthcare team and the people close to you. Advantages of participating in a clinical trial include:
Receiving new treatments before they are widely available
Having your treatment very closely monitored and followed up
Knowing your participation could improve future ovarian cancer treatments for other women
Participating in a clinical trial may also mean additional tests, paperwork and possibly side effects. Your doctor or trials nurse will discuss this with you before you decide. You can withdraw from a clinical trial and return to regular treatment at any time if you choose.
Phases of trials
Clinical trials go through several phases (phase 1 to 4) to answer specific questions. Each of these phases tests the effectiveness and safety of the new treatment in the hope the new treatment will be better than the current standard treatment. As a new treatment progresses through each phase of the clinical trial, greater knowledge is gained about its safety and effectiveness.
Webinar: Latest developments in ovarian cancer 2023
This webinar provides information about the latest developments in Ovarian cancer research, including some of the clinical trials that are currently underway and new therapies emerging for ovarian cancer. We hear from Rhonda Chapman, who was diagnosed with Stage 3a high grade serous ovarian cancer in September 2020. Rhonda has been on several clinical trials since her diagnosis and will share her experience of being involved in these trials.
Personalised medicine is a growing area of ovarian cancer research and treatment. There are various programs available around Australia that are looking at an individual’s ovarian cancer to try and identify elements that can guide decision making around treatment choice, as well as steer decisions in relation to clinical trials. For more information, please click here.
The Cancer Council's Booklet 'Understanding Clinical Trials and Research' is a guide for people with cancer, their families and friends.