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How to Find a Clinical Trial

Many people find clinical trials through their doctors, but there are online resources available to help.
 

Many people find clinical trials through their doctors, but there are online resources available to help.

Before you start searching, gather as much information as possible about your current cancer diagnosis, including your pathology report and any tumor testing results. You should also gather information on any treatments you’ve had, medications you’re on, and any history of other health conditions. This will be helpful as you try to determine your eligibility for various trials.

  • If you don’t have this information handy, learn more about how to organize your medical records.

  • The National Cancer Institute offers this Cancer Details Checklist (PDF) to help you organize the information you’ll need about your cancer diagnosis when looking for a trial.

Think about how far you would be able to travel to take part in a clinical trial. If you find a trial that is right for you but is far away, organizations such as the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Cancer Support Community might be able to assist with travel costs.

 

Helpful tips for finding a clinical trial:

  • Ask your doctors (particularly oncology providers such as your medical oncologist, surgical oncologist, or radiation oncologist) if they know of any clinical trials that would be suitable for you. If your doctors aren’t knowledgeable about clinical trials, ask if they have a colleague in the area who might be willing to assist you.

  • Either set up a telehealth appointment or travel to meet in person with an oncologist at a major cancer center that is actively involved in clinical trials. Many cancer centers based at academic medical centers have searchable databases of clinical trials, which can be a good
    starting point.

  • Search for trials on Clinicaltrials.gov, a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world. You can reach out to a specific trial’s contact person to ask for more information or verify whether you meet the eligibility requirements. Contact information for the principal investigator or research coordinator is often listed towards the bottom of the page for trials listed on Clinicaltrials.gov. (If not, you can often find their contact information through the medical center where they work.) If a trial has multiple sites that are enrolling patients, you may want to reach out to the principal investigator or research coordinator at the site closest to you.

  • Contact the following organizations that can help you find clinical trials: Breastcancertrials.org has an online matching tool to help you find breast cancer clinical trials that may be right for you. The descriptions of the trials are written in patient-friendly language. You can also contact the help desk for assistance in English, Spanish, or Mandarin with finding trials over the phone or by email: 888-282-7099; help-desk@bctrials.org. If you’re looking for a clinical trial for metastatic breast cancer, you can use the Metastatic Breast Cancer Trial Search tool, which is run by the same team.

  • Lazarex Cancer Foundation has patient navigators who can help people with cancer find clinical trial options over the phone or by email. The Foundation can also provide support with expenses related to clinical trial participation.

    925-820-4517

    877-866-9523
    info@lazarex.org

  • The National Cancer Institute has a database of clinical trials that are sponsored or financially supported by the NCI. You also can call the NCI Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER to get help with a clinical trial search tailored to your situation. Clinical trial-related live chats are also available.

  • Susan G. Komen Breast Care Helpline provides information over the phone or by email about breast cancer clinical trials, including assistance with finding a trial, knowing what to expect, and making decisions about trial participation.

    877-465-6636
    clinicaltrialinfo@komen.org

Beyond these resources, there are also clinical trial listings and matching services such as CenterWatch, EmergingMed, Trialjectory, and Antidote. You can search for clinical trials according to your diagnosis and geographic location. Given that there are so many listing services, you may wish to enlist the help of a trusted family member or friend to help research what's available.

If you find any clinical trials that interest you, and for which you think you meet the eligibility criteria, print out or save the information you find. You can contact the principal investigator or research coordinator for more details and then discuss options with your doctor and care team.

— Last updated on June 29, 2022, 3:03 PM

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