In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
is responsible for making sure that new drugs are safe and
effective before they are marketed to the public. The FDA
must approve all new drugs based on a complete analysis of
the results of clinical studies which prove that the drug
works. Drugs that are already approved which will be used
in new ways must also be approved by the FDA9.
The FDA also enforces standards for conducting studies.
Clinical trials must prove that a drug works before it is
approved for use. Since these drugs are not yet on the market,
cancer patients have an opportunity to use a new treatment
often many years before it is generally available to the public.
Clinical trials were once thought of as a last resort for people
who had no further treatment options, but today in some cases,
they can even be the first treatments for people with cancer10.
If you participate in a study and the new treatment is proven
effective, you will be among the first people to benefit from
With clinical trials, cancer patients
have an opportunity to use a new treatment often
many years before it is generally available to the public.