Clinical trials are research studies that aim to find new or better treatments, or look at using existing treatments in different combinations.  Only around 7.5% of people with cancer in the UK participate in drug trials, and trials for secondary breast cancer can sometimes struggle to recruit patients. 

We want to help patients gain access to trials and we created a Patient Trials Advocate (PTA) service run by specialist clinical research nurses to make this happen. As a patient with secondary breast cancer you can book to speak to the PTA team to learn more about clinical trials.   

We funded a survey in 2021, completed by 768 patients, to explore patient's experiences in accessing information about clinical trials and barriers to recruitment. This data has shaped our patient education programme, which aims to support patients in making an informed choice about clinical trials.

So how are the drugs that are used in clinical trials developed?

Each new drug undergoes rigorous testing before it can be widely used. First it is tested in the laboratory. If it shows promise, it then has to go through several phases of testing on people in clinical trials before doctors are allowed to use it routinely to treat patients. If you want to understand more about how a drug is developed click here.

Stories in the media sometimes describe a new drug as ‘a major breakthrough’ when it’s still at the stage of laboratory testing. In fact, it may still be several years before the results from tests on patients in clinical trials become known, which can be disappointing and frustrating for people who see a new drug as a source of hope.

There are various stages at which you may be asked to join a clinical trial. These are called trial phases. If you want to understand more about how trial phases click here.

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