About Clinical Trials

What is a clinical trial?

All new cancer treatments are tested in clinical trials. These trials evaluate new drugs that are not yet approved by the FDA or test new uses for drugs that have already been approved. They also evaluate new combinations of treatments and drugs, different dosages or the most effective schedule or number of treatments.

If you are offered an opportunity to participate in a clinical trial and decide it is not for you, your care and treatment plan will continue as normal.

If you do decide to participate in a clinical trial, the research team will explain the trial in detail and answer your questions.

Once you are accepted into the trial, you will be monitored more frequently and may be scheduled for additional office visits, lab draws or tests. If the clinical trial includes receiving a new drug, you will be monitored more closely for response and any side effects. You will continue to see your regular physician for usual care throughout the duration of the study.

Find a clinical trial

To find a clinical trial at Oregon Oncology Specialists, see our list of active clinical trials. For more information, please discuss your interest in participating in a clinical trial with your physician.

Additional clinical trials resources

You can also search for clinical trials offered elsewhere on the following sites:

For more information on the principles that guide clinical trials, see the Belmont Report from the US Office of Health and Human Services.

Cancer treatment clinical trial phases

Clinical trials are conducted in phases to obtain specific information about the treatment or experimental drug.

Phase 1 trials

  • Phase 1 trials are to test a drug’s safety.
  • Phase 1 trials aim to find the best dose of a new drug with the fewest side effects.
  • Enrollment is typically limited to 15-30 patients.

Phase 2 trials

  • Phase 2 trials further assess safety and how well the new drug works.
  • Enrollment is typically larger than the phase 1 trial.

Phase 3 trials

  • Phase 3 trials compare new drugs to the standard drug. These trials assess the side effects of each drug and which drug works better.
  • Often, these trials are randomized. This means that a patient is put into a treatment group by chance. The control group gets the current standard of care treatment. The other group gets a new treatment. Neither you nor your doctor can choose your group.
  • Enrollment is typically 100 or more patients.

Phase 4 trials

  • Phase 4 trials test new drugs approved by the FDA. This phase of study allows for better research on short-lived and long-lasting side effects and safety.
  • Enrollment is typically several hundreds to thousands of patients.

Observational studies

An observational study is a type of study in which patients are observed or certain outcomes are measured. No attempt is made to affect the outcome, as the goal is observation.

Benefits of clinical trials

Enrolling in a clinical trial could benefit you in the following ways:

  • You may get access to a new treatment and/or drugs not widely available for your disease.
  • You receive additional monitoring and evaluation as a trial participant.
  • You may play a more active role in your healthcare treatments.
  • You may have the chance to help the future of cancer treatments by developing new treatment regimens.

What are the potential risks of participating in a clinical trial?

  • The new treatment may cause serious side effects or be uncomfortable.
  • The new treatment may not work, or may not be better than the standard treatment.
  • The treatment trial could require additional medical appointments and tests, which could be inconvenient.

To learn about our available clinical trails, see the Active Clinical Trials at OOS page. Please discuss your interest in participating in a clinical trial with your physician. Our research team is available to answer any questions you may have.