Clinical Research Studies
The Avera Cancer Institute, alone with Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, has an impressive history of participating in national research efforts.
In 1998, Avera McKennan made a commitment to expand out involvement in clinical drug and medical device research by establishing a separate department for research. Now called the Avera Research Institute, it provides complete coordination of Phase II - IV clinical research studies. The Avera Research Institute allows professionals with experience in working with clinical trials to ensure timely enrollment of patients, strict compliance with protocols and exacting documentation.
What is a clinical study?
A clinical study is a research study designed to answer specific questions about vaccines, new therapies or new ways of using known treatments.
Clinical studies (also called medical research and clinical trials) are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective. Carefully conducted clinical studies are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work.
Ideas for clinical studies usually come from researchers. Once researchers test new therapies or procedures in the laboratory and get promising results, they begin planning clinical trials. Clinical trials proceed through four phases of testing:
- In phase I clinical trials, researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of people (approximately 20-80) for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range and identify side effects
- In phase II clinical trials, the study drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people (approximately 100-300) to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety
- In phase III clinical trials, the study drug or treatment is given to large groups of people (approximately 1,000-3,000 or more) to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely
- Phase IV clinical trials are done after the drug or treatment has been marketed; these studies continue testing the study drug or treatment to collect information about their effect in various populations and any side effects associated with long-term use
What are the pros and cons of participation?
It's important to note that there are both benefits and drawbacks to participation in a clinical research study. The following are a few of the pros and cons of your participation.
PRO - In addition to receiving high-quality care, there are many other benefits to participating in clinical research studies. Your participation could potentially benefit others by increasing knowledge about a disease and its potential treatments. Also, consider that as a clinical study participant, you could be one of the first participants to experience positive results from a new therapy.
CON - It is possible that new treatments may not be better than standard care, and may, in fact, be worse. Unknown side effects may be worse than those experienced with standard treatments. Also, you may be placed in a control group that receives the standard care instead of the study treatment. You may be placed in a control group and receive placebo (a sugar pill), which has no therapeutic benefit.
Cancer research opportunities