Progress in cancer treatment and prevention most often comes from clinical trials, wherein networks of researchers continue to expand the frontiers of cancer science. Physicians and staff at the Zimmer Cancer Center and Cape Fear Cancer Specialists - NHRMC Physician Group are a vital link in that network. Their participation in clinical trials connects patients in this region to the most recent advances in cancer treatment and prevention strategies worldwide.
Patients who enroll in clinical trials at the Zimmer Cancer Center have access to what researchers believe are the most promising new avenues of treatment.
Surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists and gynecologic oncologists affiliated with the New Hanover Regional Medical Center program have participated in conducting more than 120 clinical trials for cancer treatment and prevention.
Community Clinical Oncology Program
At NHRMC, we offer clinical trials that are sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the pharmaceutical industry. Each study is reviewed by our physicians (investigators), clinical research staff, and our local Institutional Review Board (IRB). Each study offered at NHRMC goes through a selective process and not all patients are eligible. Each study protocol has specific eligibility criteria. It is important for the study population to be alike as much as possible so that other factors do not interfere with the results of the study.
Participating in Trials
Patient safety is our number one priority. Medical tests may be needed to ensure that there are no increased risks. Tests needed for the participating in the study may be paid for by the study sponsor. The physician and research nurse will discuss the details of what is needed and how the costs are covered prior to the patient enrolling in the study.
The informed consent is a written document that explains the study in detail. We encourage patients to take it home and discuss their options with family and friends before making a decision. Joining a clinical trial is voluntary. Patients may stop at any time throughout the study process. We advise patients who are considering withdrawing from study treatment to discuss with their physician so they can stop safely and explore other treatment options as applicable.
Phases of Study
New treatments go through a phase system in a stepwise fashion. Early phase (phase I and I/II) studies evaluate safety. Only a small number of people who have advanced cancer for which there is no standard treatment can participate. Here at NHRMC, we offer studies that are in the later phases (phase II and III). These studies are designed to evaluate if the new treatment works better than the standard treatment.
A placebo is an inactive substance that looks like the actual drug, such as a “sugar pill”. If a clinical trial offers a placebo, it is given in addition to standard therapy or because no standard therapy exists. Patients will never get less than standard of care by joining a study at NHRMC.
After completion of study treatment, patients enter the follow-up phase. We continue to monitor patients for disease status and delayed or long-term side effects. Patients are typically followed for their lifetime to retrieve long-term survival data and until all statistical endpoints have been reached.
For more information on clinical trials at the Zimmer Cancer Center, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910.667.7641.