Clinical trials for pancreatic cancer
Cancer research trials are carried out to try to find new and better treatments for cancer. Trials that are carried out on patients are known as clinical trials.
Clinical trials may be carried out to:
- test new treatments, such as new chemotherapy drugs or targeted therapies
- look at new combinations of existing treatments, or change the way they are given, to make them more effective or to reduce side effects
- compare the effectiveness of drugs used to control symptoms
- find out how cancer treatments work
- find out which treatments are the most cost-effective.
Trials are the only reliable way to find out if a different type of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or other treatment is better than what is already available.
Taking part in a trial
You may be asked to take part in a treatment research trial. There can be many benefits in doing this. Trials help to improve knowledge about cancer and develop new treatments.
You will be carefully monitored during and after the study. Usually, several hospitals around the country take part in these trials. It’s important to bear in mind that some treatments that look promising at first are often later found not to be as good as existing treatments or to have side effects that outweigh the benefits.
If you decide not to take part in a trial, your decision will be respected and you don't have to give a reason. However, it can help to let the staff know your concerns so that they can give you the best advice. There will be no change in the way that you're treated by the hospital staff, and you’ll be offered the standard treatment for your situation.
There are many research trials going on into pancreatic cancer. Some trials are trying to improve screening tests for people at higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer, so that if cancer occurs it can be picked up at an earlier stage when it is more treatable.
Other trials are looking into ways of improving treatments, for example by combining chemotherapy with other treatments such as radiotherapy, vaccines or targeted therapies.
Targeted treatments are designed to interfere with signals within the cancer cells, affecting their ability to grow or make their own blood supply.
Find out about current trials.