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Cancer Care: Clinical Trials

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What are clinical trials?

Cancer clinical trials test new treatments for people with cancer. A clinical trial is one of the last stages in a long research process. Usually, a new treatment begins with basic research in laboratory and animal studies. The best results of that research are then tested in people to determine if the new treatment is safe and effective.

Why are clinical trials important?

Almost all medications available today have been tested in a clinical trial. The trials help to determine new and better treatments.

What are the phases of clinical trials?

Phase I

Phase I trials are the first step in testing a new treatment in humans to determine safety and identify side effects.

Phase II

Phase II trials focus on trying to determine the effectiveness of a treatment for a particular condition.

Phase III

Phase III trials test whether a new treatment is more effective than the standard treatment. Patients are randomly assigned to either the new treatment or the standard treatment.

Phase IV

Phase IV trials evaluate the long-term safety, side effects, risks, and benefits of treatments already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Benefits of participating in a clinical trial

  • Participants receive high-quality cancer care and close observation by the research team.
  • Patients have access to new treatments otherwise not available.
  • New treatment may be more effective than standard treatment.
  • Patients can help others and improve cancer treatment.
  • Patients may have access to study medication at no cost.

Risks of participation

  • New treatment may not be better than standard treatment.
  • New treatment may have side effects or risks that are unknown or worse than the standard treatment.
  • Participants in randomized trials do not have a choice of treatment.
  • Health insurance may not cover all costs.
  • Participants may have to undergo more tests or procedures than is done with standard care.

Rights and protections of study participants

  • The decision to participate is voluntary.
  • A patient can stop study therapy at any time.
  • Confidentiality is protected.
  • Informed consent is obtained before enrolling in a study.
  • The institutional review board (IRB), a group of medical and non-medical professionals, approves, and monitors each study.

Which clinical trials are open to me?

At the Mercyhealth Cancer Centers, a number of clinical trials are always in progress. We offer a variety of pase II/III clinical trails in many different cancer types.

Our patients participate in trails that may lead to new FDA-approved cancer treatments.

If you’d like more information about your eligibility as a clinical trial participant, talk to your doctor, email oncologyclinicaltrials@mhemail.org or call Mercyhealth Cancer Center–Janesville at (608) 756-6871 or Mercyhealth Cancer Center–Rockford at (815) 971-6188.

Cancer Care: Clinical Trials Providers

Cancer Care: Clinical Trials Locations

Cancer Care: Clinical Trials Resources