Patients reviewing their treatment options may wonder, are pancreatic cancer clinical trials effective? Clinical trials are necessary because their goal is to determine if the researched drug is more effective than the standard of care. Therefore, the effectiveness of clinical trials is more complicated than a simple yes or no answer.
The process of approving a new drug for standard of care can take years, so those who enroll in clinical trials are getting early access to pancreatic cancer treatments. Participation in a trial also helps further develop research that can lead to better outcomes for future patients.
Clinical trials for pancreatic cancer are conducted to:
- Investigate biomarkers present in pancreatic cancer
- Improve accuracy of diagnostic tests
- Determine the proper dosage of new drugs
- Observe how well the new treatments work
- Compare research treatments to standard treatments
What Types of Treatment Are Used in Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials?
While pancreatic cancer clinical trials can be effective for some patients, surgical resection remains the only definitive option for patients, but is restricted to earlier disease stages and is applicable to less than one-third of newly diagnosed patients. Due to the lack of curative treatments and aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer, the treatment decision can be complicated for some patients. All patients are urged to consider clinical trials which have the following types of treatment available:
- Targeted treatments
- New approaches of surgery
- Cancer vaccines
- Radiation therapy
- Combining chemotherapy with other treatments
Some of the promising drugs and combinations of treatments being researched are:
Are Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Effective?
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most challenging diseases due to its often-late diagnosis which results in limited therapeutic options and poor prognosis. Because the rate of survival and successful treatment options for pancreatic cancer are so low, there is motivation to research and develop new treatment options through clinical trials. There are more than 500 active clinical trials in the United States for pancreatic cancer. The most recent FDA approval for a pancreatic cancer drug from a clinical trial was in June 2020.
For some patients, clinical trials can offer the best treatment options available for them. For others, it might lead to the same results that the standard treatment does. Clinical trials have specific eligibility criteria to target the patients that will likely be able to safely receive the treatment. Every individual is different, which is why you should consult your doctor to see if clinical trials may benefit you.